Outcome analysis of minimally invasive repair of pectus excavatum: review of 251 cases

J Pediatr Surg. 2000 Feb;35(2):252-7; discussion 257-8. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3468(00)90019-8.


Background/purpose: Since the first report in 1997 by Dr Nuss of the technique for minimally invasive repair of pectus excavatum (MIRPE), the popularity and demand for this operation has increased dramatically. Many pediatric surgeons became familiarized with MIRPE and have applied it to a large number of patients. Outcomes and complications have not yet been defined.

Methods: A comprehensive survey of APSA members was conducted to review technical problems, complications, and outcomes of this new technique.

Results: Of the 74 survey responders, 31 (42%) currently use the MIRPE as their procedure of choice, and 251 cases were reviewed. A total of 74.2% of surgeons relied on direct observation and written documentation to obtain training in MIRPE. Less than 60% used the chest index in the preoperative assessment. A total of 98% used the Walter Lorenz bar for the MIRPE. The most common complication was bar displacement or rotation requiring reoperation (9.2%). Pneumothorax requiring tube thoracostomy was reported in 4.8%. Less common problems included infectious complications (2%), pleural effusion (2%), thoracic outlet obstruction (0.8%), cardiac injury (0.4%), sternal erosion (0.4%), pericarditis (0.4%), and anterior thoracic artery pseudoaneurysm (0.4%). Three patients (1.2%) required early strut removal. Reoperation using the open modified Ravitch approach was performed in 2 patients (0.8%). Most surgeons indicated that teenaged patients (>15 years old) were at higher risk for complications. Thoracoscopy in combination with MIRPE was used by 61% of the surgeons. Overall patient satisfaction was rated as excellent or good (96.5%).

Conclusions: The relatively high incidence of problems with MIRPE is probably related to the learning curve associated with the introduction of this new technique. Awareness of technical details, careful patient selection, use of a stabilizing bar, and thoracoscopy likely will result in decreased complications. Long-term results are yet to be determined. The development of a national registry is of great importance for further outcome analysis of MIRPE.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Funnel Chest / surgery*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures
  • North America
  • Patient Selection
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Suture Techniques
  • Thoracic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome