Pectus excavatum (PE) is a common congenital deformity. The Nuss technique for minimally invasive repair of PE involves thoracoscopy-assisted insertion of a bar or plate behind the deformity to displace the sternum anteriorly. Our objective here was to clarify the indications and limitations of the Nuss technique based on a review of 70 patients.
Materials and methods
A retrospective review of children managed at two centres identified 70 patients who had completed their growth and had their plate removed. Mean age was 13.8 years (range, 6–19 years). The reason for surgery was cosmetic disfigurement in 66 (95%) patients. The original Nuss technique was used in 63 patients, whereas 7 patients required an additional sub-xiphoid approach. Time to implant removal ranged from 8 months to 3 years.
The cosmetic outcome was considered satisfactory by the patients in 64 (91%) cases and by the surgeon in 60 (85.7%) cases. Major complications requiring further surgery occurred in 6 (8.5%) patients and consisted of haemothorax (n=2), chest wall sepsis (n=2, including 1 after implant removal), allergy (n=1), and implant displacement (n=1). Early or delayed minor complications occurred in 46 (65%) patients and resolved either spontaneously or after non-surgical therapy.
The minimal scarring and reliably good outcomes support the widespread use of the Nuss technique in children and adolescents. Our complication rates (minor, 65%; and major, 8.5%) are consistent with previous publications. In our opinion, contra-indications to thoracoscopic PE correction consist of a history of cardio-thoracic surgery and the finding by computed tomography of a sternum-to-spine distance of less than 5cm or of sternum rotation greater than 35°. In these situations, we recommend a sub- and retro-xiphoid approach to guide implant insertion or a classic sterno-chondroplasty procedure.
Level of evidence
Level IV, retrospective descriptive cohort study.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Pectus excavatum, Funnel chest, Child, Minimally invasive Nuss procedure