Purpose: This report describes a 5-year experience with a novel, minimally invasive surgical technique for treatment of pectus carinatum.
Methods: From June 2002 to August 2007, 40 patients underwent operation to correct pectus carinatum by pressure applied through a curved steel bar that was placed subcutaneously anterior to the sternum, via lateral thoracic incisions. The bar is inserted through a polyvinyl chloride tube with the convexity facing posteriorly. The polyvinyl chloride tube is positioned presternally by trocar. Subperiosteal wires attach small fixation plates to the ribs laterally, and the convex bar is secured to the small fixation plates with screws applying manual pressure to the anterior chest wall until the desired configuration is achieved. The compressive elongated bar is attached to the fixation plate with screws. The average age was 14.3 years (range, 10-21 years), and 90% were male. Both symmetric and asymmetric protrusions were treated. Patients whose chest was not malleable, and whose sternum could not be brought to a desirable position with pressure from the operator's hand, were treated by the open or "Ravitch" technique. After 2 or more years, the bar, wires stitches, screws, and fixation plates were removed.
Results: Of 40 patients treated with this procedure, 20 have undergone bar removal with the following results: 10 excellent, 4 good, 4 fair, and 2 poor. Average blood loss was 15 mL. Average length of hospital stay was as follows: implant, 3.8 days; removal, 1.4 days. Patients returned to routine activity 14 days after repair. Average follow-up since primary repair is 2.49 years. In those who have had bar removal, it is 1.53 years. Complications were pneumothorax in 1 patient, treated with chest tub e suction; skin adherence in 8 cases; seroma in 6; wire breakage in 3; persistence of pain in 1; and infection in 1. Technical modifications (selecting younger patients, excluding patients with a stiff thoracic wall, submuscular insertion of the bar, stronger pericostal wire) have been associated with no complications in the last 16 cases.
Conclusions: This experience with a new, minimally invasive technique for the treatment of pectus carinatum shows it to be safe and effective. The correction obtained was highly satisfactory with minimal complications. It should be considered in appropriate cases as an alternative to more invasive techniques.