Article Abstract

Minimally invasive repair of pectus excavatum

Authors: André Hebra, Bennett W. Calder, Aaron Lesher


Pectus excavatum, an acquired or congenital depression of the anterior chest wall, is the most commonly occurring chest wall deformity. Patients with pectus excavatum experience psychosocial and physiologic consequences such as impaired social development and pulmonary and/or cardiac dysfunction as a result of the deformity. Traditionally, repair of the defect was performed with a major open operation, the most common being based on modifications of the Ravitch procedure. In the late 1990’s, the operative approach was challenged with a new minimally invasive technique described by Dr. Donald Nuss. This approach utilizes thoracoscopic visualization with small incisions and placement of a temporary metal bar positioned behind the sternum for support it while the costal cartilages remodel. Since introduction, the minimally invasive repair of pectus excavatum (MIRPE) has become accepted in many centers as the procedure of choice for repair of pectus excavatum. In experienced hands, the procedure has excellent outcomes, shorter procedural length, and outstanding cosmetic results. However, proper patient selection and attention to technical details are essential to achieve optimal outcomes and prevent significant complications. In the following, we describe our perspective on pectus excavatum deformities, operative planning, and technical details of the MIRPE procedure.