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Minerva Chirurgica 2000 December;55(12):835-40

language: Italian

Surgical repair of pectus excavatum by internal stainless steel strut fixation. Clinical experience with 51 cases

Moretto G., Pollini G. P., Pellini F., Nardo A., Stimamiglio P., Sandrini R., Fiorini E.


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Background. Broad is the spectrum of congenital chest wall deformities. Fortunately the severe life-threatening deformities (i.e. ectopia cordis and Jeune's disease) are rarer than the more frequent pectus excavatum and carinatum. Funnel chest is the most common anterior chest wall deformity, it results from posterior depression of the sternum and cartilages, from the third to the eighth; it occurs more frequently in boys than in girls (4:1 ratio). While the deformity may be recognizable at birth, especially during crying spells, it progressively worsens during childhood, producing, sometimes, respiratory and cardiac impairment.
Methods. The authors report their experience, from April 1970 to December 1998, in correction of Pectus Excavatum using a single surgical technique, at the Borgo Roma Hospital of Verona. During this period 51 patients (mean age 14 years) affected by this deformity, were treated performing a sterno-chondroplasty with internal fixation. Most of the patients (94%) required operation for esthetic and psychological reasons only. The grade of funnel chest (according to the Chin Classification) was: type I in 59.6% of patients, type II in 31.4% and type III in 11.7%. The surgical technique consisted in the modification of the Ravitch's technique (subperichondrial cartilage resection, transverse osteotomy with internal stainless steel strut fixation). We considered the intervention advisable to correct an existing defect or to prevent its progression. We don't think, in fact, that spontaneous recession of the deformity may occur.
Results. The follow-up varied from 4 to 18 years. The result was classified according to the classification of Humphreys and it was excellent in 64.7%, good in 17.7%, fair in 9.8% and poor in 7.8%.
Conclusions. This technique proved to be safe and effective, it can be performed with no mortality, very low complication rate and satisfactory results.

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