Chest wall conditions are abnormalities in the chest area that a child is born with. At Children’s National Hospital, our team of pediatric specialists has vast experience performing these complex surgical procedures and always plans treatments that are appropriate for children’s still-developing bodies
At Children’s National, we make the complex routine. When your child needs to undergo an advanced procedure to repair a chest wall defect, you want to come to a center that performs a high volume of these surgeries. Our team is:
Even though chest wall surgeries may be routine for us, we understand it is not routine for you. We take the time to discuss the procedure with you in detail and answer any questions you may have. Our clinical expertise combined with our warm, compassionate staff is the reason parents choose us for these intricate procedures.
Often, we diagnose chest wall defects when a child is born. Many times, the defect usually does not affect the child’s growth. The symptoms usually worsen as children enter puberty, because their bones begin growing rapidly. Two common chest wall conditions we treat:
There are two surgical options for correcting these defects. Before the surgery, we conduct extensive evaluations and examinations to determine that your child is a candidate for the operation. We will discuss the risks and benefits of each option and choose the procedure that offers your child the best outcome.
Learn more about:
The Nuss procedure is a minimally invasive technique to correct pectus excavatum. Your child may be a candidate if he or she experiences symptoms including:
During the procedure, we will:
You cannot see the bars from the outside. They stay in place for approximately two to three years, and then your child returns for a removal procedure. Long-term results for children who undergo the procedure are excellent and most do not experience a recurrence of the condition.
The Ravitch procedure treats pectus excavatum and pectus carinatum. It is a more invasive surgery. However, there are times when we may determine it is more appropriate for your child and will offer a better outcome. During a Ravitch procedure, we will:
The Ravitch procedure has excellent long-term results. Most patients do not experience a recurrence of the chest wall defect.
Even with the more minimally invasive Nuss procedure, recovery from the procedure can be painful. However, our team pays special attention to pain management in children, helping them recover in a warm, reassuring environment. Your child will most likely receive intravenous (IV) pain medication for a few days before switching to oral pain medication. During recovery, we will work with your child on:
Our team will discuss your child’s follow-up appointments. Your child will have regular visits with:
When your child needs surgery, Children's National is dedicated to providing quality care with experienced pediatric surgeons, advanced minimally invasive techniques and a child-friendly environment. Discover more about the treatment we offer.
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The pediatric surgical experts at Children’s National in Washington, D.C., provide advanced, comprehensive surgical care for infants, children and teenagers.