A 26-year review of pectus deformity repairs, including simultaneous intracardiac repair

Charles L. Willekes, Carl L. Backer, Constantine Mavroudis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Background. We reviewed our operative experience and long-term results with repair of pectus excavatum and carinatum deformities through a vertical midline approach, including those cases with simultaneous intracardiac repair. Methods. From 1972 through 1998, 120 children underwent pectus deformity repair. Operative technique used a vertical midline incision with subperichondrial resection of deformed cartilages and an anterior sternal osteotomy. Thirty-five patients had a temporary metal bar for retrosternal support for 6 months; 85 underwent repair without a bar. Patients and parents were asked to assess the outcome after pectus repair as poor, fair, good, or excellent. Results. There were 94 male and 26 female patients (mean age, 8.4 years; range, 3 to 21 years). There were 111 cases of pectus excavatum and 9 of pectus carinatum. Fourteen children (11.5%) had an associated congenital heart defect; 9 patients had simultaneous pectus and intracardiac repair. One patient was referred for emergent open heart repair and pectus repair after attempted 'Nuss' repair resulted in a perforated right atrium, perforated right ventricle, and partially disrupted tricuspid valve apparatus. There were no deaths and only one significant complication, which required a return to the operating room for bleeding. Morbidity was not higher in patients with simultaneous intracardiac repair. Long-term follow-up was established in 83% of patients. Results were classified as excellent in 64 patients (64%), good in 25 (25%), fair in 8 (8%), and poor in 3 (3%). Thirty (86%) of 35 patients with a sternal bar had excellent results versus 34 (52%) of 65 without a bar (p = 0.004); 97% of patients who underwent repair with a sternal bar classified the result as excellent or good. Conclusions. Long-term results of pectus excavatum and carinatum repair through a vertical midline approach are excellent. Outcome with a temporary sternal bar is superior to outcome without a bar. Concomitant repair of congenital heart defects and pectus deformity may be performed successfully without additional morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-518
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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