Repair of pectus deformities with sternal support

E. W. Fonkalsrud, T. Salman, W. Guo, Jeffrey Gregg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


During the past 25 years, 252 children underwent repair of pectus deformities. There were 195 male and 57 female patients, of whom 227 had pectus excavatum and 25 had pectus carinatum. Of the 252 patients, 113 underwent repair at between 2 and 5 years of age. Exercise limitation was reported by 51%, and 32% had frequent respiratory infections or asthma. Repair was performed through a transverse incision with subperiosteal resection of the lower four or five costal cartilages, from sternum to costochondral junction bilaterally. A transverse wedge osteotomy was made through the anterior table of the sternum, with fracture but no displacement of the posterior table. For children younger than 5 years (n = 108), the periosteal sheath of the fifth rib from each side was sewn together behind the sternal tip. For older patients (n = 136), a thin steel strut was used for sternal support for 6 months. There were no deaths within the first year. Complications included seroma (16), atelectasis (12), pneumothorax (three), and recurrent chest depression (three). More than 98% of patients had improvements in exercise tolerance, endurance, respiratory symptoms, and cosmetic appearance; these improvements were considered excellent results. Operation at an early age with routine use of substernal support with minimal preoperative and postoperative testing has provided excellent results at a low cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-42
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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