Background: In this article we assess the significance of classifying chest-deformities based on morphological findings in type-related treatment and its results.
Data sources: Recent publications on chest-deformities in children and youth were retrieved from PubMed and Medline and from our clinical and intraoperative findings.
Results: Chest-deformities are diagnosed by thorax-measurements using a flexible meter projected on a graph-paper by MR/CT investigations and color coded videorasterstereography. In addition an ultrasound guided mediastinal analysis is performed on the heart, the great vessels and mediastinal organs. These investigations could determine meticulously the morphology of the sternum, the sterno-costal segments and the costal arch, enabling to find different chest wall deformities, i.e., 11 different types. The clinical and surgical significance of such a classification can be shown by comparing postoperative results of non-classified chest-deformities with those of classified. Preoperatively non-classified chest-deformities often have postoperative asymmetric shapes, partial local recurrences, costal arch eversions and a platythorax. Such a classification can be used to analyze and predict socalled "secondary associated alterations" of the vertebral column or mediastinal organs.
Conclusions: Determining the specific type of a thorax deformity could be considered a type-related physiotherapy as conservative treatment or vacuum treatment and if surgery is indicated a type-related surgical correction can be performed. A type-related and adapted surgical correction can prevent subsequent mitral valve prolapse, recurrent infections, vertebral disturbances caused by kypho-scoliosis and increasing psychological irritation. Typing chest-deformities are an additional and essential help for the surgeon to perform specific surgical procedures: detorsion of the sternum, correction of the sterno-costal region, the costal arch bow and the kind of chest wall immobilization by metal struts. It can also compare the postoperative results more accurately in similar types of chest-deformities.