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Learn What to Expect From Pectus carinatum

  • Talk to your doctor about your child’s medications/vitamins/herbs. Some may need to be discontinued a week prior to surgery.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that could impact surgery or anesthesia.
  • Do not give your child anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Blood samples are taken in case your child needs a blood transfusion.

On the Day of the Surgery

  • Do not allow your child to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Only give your child medications that the surgeon has recommended with a small sip of water.
  • You will receive a call from the hospital about arrival time.

After Surgery

Your child will remain in the hospital for three to five days following the procedure.

  • Pain is common after this surgery. Patient will be given long-acting oral pain medication, NSAIDS, IV pain medication and multi-level intercostal nerve blocks.
  • Tubes will be inserted at the incision sites to help drain fluid from the chest. They will remain in place until the draining stops.
  • A day after surgery, your child will be encouraged to sit up in bed, take deep breaths and walk for short distances.
  • He or she will not be allowed to bend, twist or turn at first so that the bar has time to set in place.
  • Your child will be prescribed antibiotics to take while he or she recovers.
  • Your child will be able to shower two days after the drains are removed.

Recovery: What to Expect in the Next Few Weeks

Most children will need pain medications for the first month. Usually it takes a month or two for your child to fully recover and resume normal activities. Your child’s pediatric surgeon can advise as to what sports are allowed.

Questions & Answers


What does the procedure involve?


After your child receives general anesthesia, the surgeon makes two small lateral incisions on each side of the chest. Using a thoracoscope (small diameter telescope) to visualize the chest, a C-shaped bar is inserted subcutaneously through two small lateral incisions. The bar is located at the point of maximum protrusion, placed in front of the sternum and fixed in a compressing position to the ribs on either side. The bar is normally removed after two to three years during an outpatient procedure.


How many incisions are made?


Two small lateral incisions are made on either side of the chest to insert the bar.


How long will my child stay in the hospital?


Children will normally have to stay three to five days in the hospital.


What is the recovery time?


Most children will need pain medications for the first month. It typically takes a month or two for your child to fully recover and resume normal activities. Your child’s pediatric surgeon can advise on what sports are allowed.