Hey guys!

I'm currently sitting in my hospital bed recovering and figured it might be fun and helpful to answer some questions while things are fresh in my brain about the surgery. I know I did a lot of research and talked to a few people before I had it done and that was really helpful, so if anybody wants to talk feel free to send me a PM or post a question in here! Or feel free to ask me anything else, it is an AMA after all!

Proof: http://imgur.com/a/7rcHL (there's also a before and after image in there).

Also, here's a video of the procedure I had done: http://youtu.be/JCrRsgN6aFI

Edit 1: Hey everybody, thanks so much for all your support and questions! I'm going to finish up a bit of lunch and go for a walk. I should be back in about 15 minutes to continue answering questions, sorry for the delay! Keep the questions coming :)

Edit 2: I am back! Took a little longer than I thought it would but I am back and I'll start answering questions!

Edit 3: Holy crap! Gold? Thank you kind stranger! Also, I went for another walk and had some nurses/doctors come by to check on me so I've been a bit delayed, trying to get to everybodys questions, I promise I will! Also, a dog stopped by to say hello :) Here's a picture of me, some nurses and a very nice yellow lab: http://i.imgur.com/SW1kGvf.jpg

Edit 4: Some food just got here and I've got to eat and then possibly go for a walk afterwards. I'll be back shortly to answer more questions!

Edit 5: Just ate some food, going to go for a walk now, probably be back in about 20 minutes if all goes well. Keep the questions coming!

Edit 6: I am back from my walk, nurses just changed over and I'm getting ready to watch 8 Mile on TV, I'll be here all night...and all day tomorrow, and then for a few more days after that! Happy to keep answering questions :)

Edit 7: Wow guys! What a day! Almost 1,000 upvotes on this thread and close to 600 comments, plus I got gilded! I think I've caught up to everybodys comments which means I'm ready to go to bed. I'll respond to anybody who messages me overnight when I wake up in the morning. Feel free to send me a PM whenever if you have any questions! Thanks so much for keeping me entertained today, this is pretty much what I spent my day doing and it has been tons of fun. And thanks to everybody again for all the supportive comments and well wishes! Goodnight!

Edit 8: I guess this is still going! I woke up this morning, internet wasn't letting me log in for some reason and I was pretty tired still so I went back to bed. Woke up, went for a walk, ate some food and hung out for a bit but I'm back. I answered a few questions, hopefully I'll get to the rest soon, I'm pretty tired again! I'm trying to get back to everybody!

Edit 9: Alright, I think I'm all caught up, if I missed your question/PM I'm sorry, just resend it, I'd be happy to reply but my inbox has been crazy! I just got moved to a new room as well so I had to settle in, and I got a care package from some family friends which is nice :) As this thread dies down feel free to shoot me a PM or still post here and I'll try to respond :)

Thanks for all the support guys, keep the questions coming!

Comments: 771 • Responses: 88  • Date: 

locdawg6999 karma

Awesome that you're doing this AMA man. I have a sunken chest also but when I asked my heart doctor (previous issues) he said I would mostly likely have no reason other than cosmetic to have surgery. Were there any medical issues that forced you to have the surgery? Stoked you're not in any pain atm, seems like a crazy surgery

Burnt_Couch97 karma

Thanks, the issues were mostly medical but a bit cosmetic too. I have always been embarrassed about it since I got teased as a kid for having it. I didn't like taking my shirt off in front of people after that, but a year ago or so now I kind of got over that but still was a bit self conscious about it.

My lungs were compressed and not at full normal capacity, my heart was slightly shifted out of place as well. In my freshman year of highschool we thought I had asthma since I'd get short of breath while playing soccer way before my teammates would, so that gives you an idea of its severity I guess. I also couldn't work out my upper body without being uncomfortable and laying on my side was sometimes awkward. This may sound weird as well but when in the shower and water would hit my dent it felt like it was on the inside of my body if that makes sense, it was weird so I usually covered over it in the shower.

Thanks, I'm glad I'm not in much pain too. Overall it's been a good experience and I'm very glad I did it.

Hope that answers your question, let me know if there's anything else I can answer for you or didn't answer :)

camsnow36 karma

I had the same issue when I was younger. Unfortunately mine was too severe and they did the procedure at age 4 which was a more disfiguring procedure. My lungs still are the size of a 13 year olds at age 27, and heart is way off from it's normal position. I have since had open heart surgery and a few pacemaker surgeries. So if you would like to ever have an ear to listen, I have been through a bit and know where you'll be coming from. PM me whenever if that's the case.

Burnt_Couch20 karma

Thank you! Hopefully mine goes smoothly, sorry to hear about your hardships with it, hope you the best going forward man.

Same here, feel free to shoot me a message if you want to talk, I haven't been through what you have but sometimes having somebody to listen is nice :)

totric7 karma

Damn ive never had an inner body feeling in my dent

Burnt_Couch9 karma

Yeah, it's weird. I think only one other person with P.E. that I've talked to has had that feeling. Wasn't a big deal but it was pretty weird in the shower sometimes.

DoucheMcCallister2 karma

I had the same surgery a couple years ago. My condition was on a 9 on a scale of 1-10 bad. The first few days are the worst but it's really not too bad. The worst part was I had to sleep in a upright position for two months or so. But I'm so happy I got the surgery. I needed it for health reasons but it has definitely improved my self confidence. And you have an awesome story to tell people. Message me if you have any questions.

Burnt_Couch1 karma

I don't know how mine is on a scale of 1-10. I had a Haller index of 5.9 and the wikipedia page says "A normal Haller index should be about 2.5. Chest wall deformities such as pectus excavatum can cause the sternum to invert, thus increasing the index, which can reach 3.25 or even as high as 5.5" so I'm above the top of the scale? I dunno!

I've been able to lay almost flat when I sleep which is nice, but then again I'm still on a lot of pain killers. I'm really happy I did the surgery, I needed it for health reasons too but I also wanted it to fix the cosmetic side of things.

Thanks man, feel free to do the same. Have you gotten your bar(s) out yet?

iia64 karma

Did you ever think to ask, "Hey, since you're going to be in there, can you add in a good pair of tits?"

Burnt_Couch51 karma

I can't say that ever came across my mind...

iia81 karma

Thank you for your time.

Burnt_Couch22 karma

Absolutely, thanks for the question :)

Rootballa44 karma

Did you watch that video of the procedure before or after you had it? That looked violent as hell.

Burnt_Couch44 karma

Yes, I did. It may not have been my best idea...I'm just glad I wasn't awake for it.

altoid_lover39 karma

Did you ever fill your chest with water and have pets drink out of it? But seriously, glad surgery went well!

Burnt_Couch86 karma

Unfortunately no I did not, I was going to fill it with cereal and milk the night before my surgery but when I remembered it was already past my cut off time for eating any sort of food :(

Thank you!

ratajewie5 karma

If it makes you feel better, I've done it several times and everyone always loves it/is freaked out by it when I do it (the cereal thing).

Burnt_Couch7 karma

Well there you go, I'll live me chest cereal bowl experience vicariously through you!

notcaffeinefree31 karma

That video is the weirdest thing ever. They're just so casual with poking and prodding. Right around the 3:13 mark, that twist was unexpected.

Is there anything holding the rod things in place (so that they couldn't just suddenly rotate on their own?

Burnt_Couch23 karma

They can't really rotate, they go from the outside of your rib cage (between your ribs and skin) and then under the sternum. So it's pretty much impossible to rotate. There's people doing professional MMA with these bars in, but I think I also have a small stabilizer plate on one side just to be safe.

The video is a bit crazy...I probably shouldn't have watched it before hand, whoops.

CaptainBenza17 karma

Especially the part where he slams his hand into the bar to get it in. Like damn, might as well whip out the sledge hammer

Burnt_Couch8 karma

Yeah...it's a bit crazy like I said. I probably shouldn't have watched it before having my operation but oh well.

Messiah_7927 karma

is there anything you want to get off your chest?

Burnt_Couch29 karma

The EKG plugs and maybe the IV would be nice...

bluelily21623 karma

How do you feel? Are you in a lot of pain? Were you scared before the surgery?

Burnt_Couch30 karma

I'm feeling pretty great thus far, been telling the nurses my pain is at 1-2 out of 10. I have an epidural in right now so I don't feel much around where the bar is.

I was a bit nervous going in, but I dislike needles and I'm pretty sure getting my pre-op IV was the worst!

bluelily21614 karma

Do hospitals have wifi or do you have unlimited data? Is your family there? Is your nurse nice? Or is she Misery's Kathy Bates' gainfully employed and less stalkerish sister?

Burnt_Couch22 karma

My hospital does have wifi, it's not exactly fast...but it's livable. I also have unlimited data on my phone and get 3G here which is nice.

My mom is here right now and my dad was a little while ago. He'll be back in a few days (the hospital is kind of far away and he has to work).

I have a lot of doctors/nurses. I think the surgeon/doctor has like 4-5 people in his team that visit me once or twice a day and I've had like 7-8 nurses int he last two days. They come in often and I have a button to call them and they respond to that quickly which is nice, and they've been really helpful and nice :)

bluelily2168 karma

Whaaa!?! If you're American you're in a much nicer hospital than I've ever visited.

Burnt_Couch25 karma

I am American, it's a nice hospital though. This is the view from my room: http://i.imgur.com/mnFH5E4.jpg

bluelily2165 karma

I'm jealous! Although I'm not sure if I'm willing to trade surgery for such a view.

Burnt_Couch11 karma

It's not been so bad. And while the view is nice I usually have a better view around where I live, not so many mountains here. The northeast is a beautiful place to live :)

TheBoldWombat15 karma

What prompted you to under-go the surgery? I have pectus excavitum (not as bad as yours is though) as well and have always wondered about getting it fixed.

Burnt_Couch13 karma

Mostly medical reasons, somewhat cosmetic. I have always been a bit self conscious about it, less so as I got older but I was teased about it as a kid.

My lungs were compressed and not at full capacity for somebody my age, my heart was slightly shifted out of position, and I couldn't work my upper body out without being uncomfortable (the muscles in my chest would pull on the dent and feel weird, not pain, just uncomfortable). I also had trouble laying on my side sometimes and would toss and turn in bed.

I'm an active person and wanted to be at full capacity. I also wanted to make sure it wouldn't be a problem when I was older, I didn't want to already have smaller than normal lungs.

Overall I'm very happy I had the surgery done!

TheBoldWombat6 karma

Yeah, I can notice it sometimes too. It is certainly not a day-to-day thing though, but I wouldn't even really be able to tell if I was abnormally short of breath.

The only thing I've ever been worried about with it is that if I somehow get punched in the chest really hard, my sternum will break off and stab me in the heart haha

I'm glad to hear you are happy with the results.

Burnt_Couch4 karma

Yeah, not a day to day thing for me either. It was just when I was running or on a long bike ride.

I was worried about getting punched, but now I think it'll hurt my attacker more than me (I hope).

Thank you very much :)

Poxx14 karma

Have you been checked for Marfan Syndrome?

Burnt_Couch13 karma

Yes, I had an echocardiogram before the procedure to inspect my heart and things seem to be normal which is good.

Thanks for asking :)

quitecrass14 karma


Burnt_Couch16 karma

Haha, I'm not really sure! I guess it was a weight off my chest.

vault200813 karma

What's your favorite movie?

Burnt_Couch29 karma

I really enjoyed The Intouchables.

clgoodnough3 karma

Such a fantastic movie

Burnt_Couch6 karma

Yeah, I usually dislike moves with captions and I also don't usually rewatch movies.

I've watched this one 3-4 times and I love it every time, so does everybody I watch it with.

DogBoneSalesman1 karma


Burnt_Couch3 karma

No sir, The Intouchables as seen here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1675434/

It's a great movie!

sledgehammer9272 karma

I will have to check this movie out, but weirdly, the promo video calls it "untouchable" at the end.

Burnt_Couch1 karma

That's odd, it's very good :)

Sinnertje10 karma

I'm far too squeamish and impatient to watch the video, could you give me a quick rundown of the surgery? How in the hell were they able to do that without cutting open your entire chest?

Burnt_Couch18 karma


So my sternum was dented in as you can see in my pictures. In order to fix that they had to used a curved bar to "pop" it out. They make two small incisions, one on both sides, and then I think a second one on my right side for a stabilizer. Then they run a "test" bar through to make a path and bring a string through that I think they use to pull the actual fitted bar through my chest.

The bars are curved to what my chest should look like, but obviously they can't put them into my chest in that orientation because my chest is dented in, so they put them in upside down and twist them 180 degrees while in my chest in order to pop my dent out.

Hopefully that makes sense, let me know if I can try to explain it any better.

Sinnertje8 karma

Is it a metal bar? Because I could definitely see potential for a party trick with fridge magnets there!

Burnt_Couch12 karma

It is metal, what's your idea...I've been wondering if I could turn it into a trick!

carmanut5 karma

Depending on how close the bars are to your nipples, you could pretend to have piercings?

Also I would totally stick crayon drawings on my chest and go as a fridge for Halloween.

TheFireflies3 karma

This is brilliant. I'm having surgery soon that will require my breastbone to be wired shut post-procedure (the wire will remain permanently) and I'm now really disappointed that it won't be magnetic. I will probably set off metal detectors though, so there's a party trick.

Burnt_Couch6 karma

What kind of parties do you go to with metal detectors? haha

fuweike3 karma

Wow. My question is, when they "pop" the bar around, why does the sternum and other bones not just break? Also, do the bars always stay in or will they ever come out?

Burnt_Couch5 karma

I'm not sure, I think it's because they're a bit flexible and connected by cartilage at my age. The bars stay in for 2-3 years from my understanding and then they get taken out :)

mcgriddleluver9 karma

I have the same thing and am (hopefully) going to be scheduled for the surgery soon! Is there anything at all I should be worried about?

Burnt_Couch9 karma

Not really, where are you located? Do you have good insurance?

I was able to choose a good hospital and I'm extremely happy I had it done, I am in very little pain, I honestly feel like I'm just sore, as if I had a good day of working out or exercising and now my chest is sore.

I was a bit nervous going in but it has been a lot better than I anticipated it being. Obviously things will be different for each person but I have a button for getting meds into me when I need them and I haven't used it almost at all today, just this morning really. My doctor did a good job :)

Let me know if you want any specific questions answered, I'd be happy to chat with you about it.

taytermuffin7 karma

When do they let you get up and start walking around? How long do they keep you in the hospital?

Burnt_Couch6 karma

I got up and walked around last night, around the ward I'm in and to the bathroom. I walked a bit farther today and am going to try to walk around 3 more times today. I'm eating lunch right now so I'm going to try to go for a walk after I finish.

I don't know the exact length of my stay, it depends on a lot of things, but I think 6-10 days.

deecrafty7 karma

I know someone who had a similar surgery when he was younger, upon removal of the bar his chest eventually sunk back in. What are your risks for this happening and how can you help prevent it? I can't stress enough that you should do whatever the doctors say to help ensure this is minimal loss after the bar is removed.

Burnt_Couch4 karma

I'm not entirely sure on what the risks are. How old was he?

I was told I'm in the prime age to have it done, I'm pretty much done growing but my bones haven't stiffened up too much to where it would be more painful to have done. In two(ish) years I'll have the bar taken out and I guess I'll find out what happens then. I think my best bet would be to develop my chest muscles so that they can help keep my chest as is. Of all the people that I've seen have the bar sink back in, none have returned to how bad it was originally so I'm not terribly worried about that happening, a little bit of a dent would be much better than what I had before.

I'll be sure to ask the doctors before my release, thanks for the heads up!

tw3nty0n35 karma


Burnt_Couch4 karma

Yes, my lungs were compressed and my heart was shifted out of place. I also had a hard time finding a comfortable way to lay on couches and things like that and couldn't comfortably work out my upper body. I also wanted it done for cosmetic reasons but it was mostly medical. I had some testing done beforehand to make sure it was necessary and I'm very glad I had it done.

I'm a rather active person so I wanted to have as much lung capacity as I could. If he wants to ask me any specific questions feel free to have him PM me or ask in this thread, I'd be happy to answer them :)

okletstryanother5 karma

What kind of music you listen to? Also what are you studying?

Burnt_Couch5 karma

Right now I'm listening to Joywave radio on Spotify, I listen to a lot of music though. My pandora has something like 40 stations, I pretty much listen to anything except country/western and jazz/classical. Rap, hip hop, rock, and when with my friend that listens to metal I'll tolerate it for a little bit :)

I'm a mechanical engineering and business major!

geocurious3 karma

Did you take the semester off for this surgery? Did your doctors give you any advise about school this semester?

Burnt_Couch3 karma

Yes, I took this semester off. I did it just so I wouldn't be pressured to go back to school before I felt comfortable doing it. I think some people do the surgery while in school but I don't think it would be fun. Then again I could probably be doing school work right now (well, some more basic stuff).

Johssy4 karma

Ever met someone with pectus carrinatum? You'd match like a puzzlepiece.

I know, cus I have pectus Carrinatum

Burnt_Couch3 karma

I have not! That would be pretty neat though.

starryburrito4 karma

Hey, good job in making it through!

Are you okay now? Bless you

Burnt_Couch3 karma

Thank you :)

I'm doing quite well now, I have an epidural in and so that's taking away my pain and keeping me in good spirits.

Cheesetaco1014 karma

I got the same procedure done about a year ago, all I remember is pain for a few weeks, even now I still have the occasional burning on the incisions, do you get the bar out in 2 years or is it shorter/longer then that? I get mine out next year, also glad to see you're doing well!

Burnt_Couch5 karma

Thank you! I think I'll get it out in two years but haven't been told for sure yet.

arkr4 karma

I remember when my best friend had this surgery and i was his bitch for a week(opened doors, carried his books, etc). Did you find yourself a bitch for the next few weeks?

Good luck with the recovery

Burnt_Couch3 karma

Thank you :)

I have taken this semester off from college and I have my parents to rely on for the next few weeks which is nice. So far things have been going well and I'm able to get up and walk around on my own (with my rolling cart of IV bags and drugs) so I should be pretty good once I get home.

tetrimina4 karma

What's the insurance part of this? Did your health insurance cover it, or was it all out of pocket? I have it, too, and find difficulty running to capacity because my lungs aren't filling up completely.

Burnt_Couch4 karma

Yes, my insurance covered it. I had a medical necessity for having it done (not just cosmetic) which it seems like you might too since you have trouble running like I did (or still do since I can't really run right now...).

I went and saw my physician and asked about it (actually, he asked me about it oddly enough before I could even mention it). I had a few very east tests done and they discovered that my lungs were being compressed and my heart was displaced, a few months later here I am!

I'm very glad I had the procedure done, I would definitely go get checked out. Let me know if you have any questions about it :)

Anonomoosehue3 karma

Hey, I was wondering, after the surgery, did you look more "fat", so to speak? I don't think I'm asking tags correctly...but the reason I ask is because I as well have Pectus Excavatum, and I was told that it seems to get deeper every so often. As a kid it was never there, but over the years it slowly started to appear. Since then I've gotten asthma, as well as moderate to severe chest pains that get very annoying. I've been thinking about getting the procedure done but what has stopped me is fear, and fear that it may make me look larger than I did initially. I hope this all makes sense. Thank you in advance.

Burnt_Couch5 karma

Hey man, first up I just want to say that while it's a bit nerve racking before hand it's definitely worth it. Especially if there's medical reasons to have it done, I would DEFINITELY do it over again.

I don't think I look more fat really, my chest looks like a normal persons (yay!) but then again I'm a skinny guy to begin with (5'11'' and 140 lbs). So there's not much fat to be pushed around.

When I was younger I was tested for asthma because I thought I had it since I'd run out of breath before my soccer teammates but it turns out it was just my lungs that were compressed.

I would highly suggest having the procedure done, feel free to message me if you have any more questions, or just post in this thread, I'd be happy to answer them :)

omnichronos3 karma

I have this condition also but not as bad as you. When in shape I'm a good runner except occasionally when it feels as if my lungs are inflating against my ribs and can't fully inflate. For me it's as if a particular rhythm of expanding lungs and expanding my chest cavity during an inhale are out of sync, preventing full inflation.

Burnt_Couch2 karma

That's sort of weird, never had that feeling. You can always go get checked out by your doctor if you're interested in having the procedure done. I'm really happy I did it!

CapnGnarly3 karma

How's recovery? Are you in ICU or general admission? Any hot nurses?

Burnt_Couch3 karma

It's good so far! I'm in pretty much no pain, I have an epidural so the drugs aren't messing with my head, I'm eating normally, and everything seems to be going well. I'm in general admission, and yeah, there's a few hot nurses so far ;)

LeConnor3 karma

Do you know if the bars will set off metal detectors?

Burnt_Couch3 karma

I believe they will, they're surgical stainless steel.

TurdSandwich2522 karma

In other comments it said you had a bar put in, did you have a choice? I had this same surgery when I was 13, and didn't have a bar put it in and everything went great. Will you have to have it taken out later? Good luck, seems like you are doing better than me. When i got out of surgery I would not have been up for doing anything like this. Would love to hear more as I have never talked to anyone else that had done this.

Burnt_Couch2 karma

I had the Nuss procedure which always has a bar involved as far as I know. There are other procedures such as the Ravitch (sp?) and a few others. There's a new one with magnets for younger kids I believe...

The bar comes out in about 2 years I think, but that's a 1 day procedure in and out of the hospital. Nothing like the stay I have for this.

The drugs are definitely helping me function! I'm glad they're going into an epidural and not through my mouth yet, my head is completely clear which is nice :)

If you have any questions I'd be happy to answer them :)

The_Prince15133 karma


Yeah the Nuss procedure is definitely better. I had the Ravitch procedure done because I heard that the Nuss bar could be chronically painful while the bar is in for up to two years.

Looking back on it I definitely would have opted for the Nuss rather than the Ravitch if I had the choice. The Ravitch procedure laid me out in the hospital for a good two weeks, and I was recovering for at least 3 months afterwords. Not to mention a lung collapse as a result of the surgery while I was in the hospital, not fun.

Burnt_Couch2 karma

Yikes man, that sounds rough!

So far the pain has been almost nonexistent for me which is nice. A lung collapse sounds pretty scary though :\

Still glad you had it done?

TurdSandwich2522 karma

Do you have chest tubes in to drain the blood? I think getting those out was the worst thing about the entire experience.

How long before you will be back to your regular life? For me, I was so young that for about half my school year I couldn't play any sports or do anything other than just sit around. Seems like surgery has advanced quite a bit since I have had it, as you said you have been up walking around. I didn't walk for a few days and my breathing was very weak for awhile.

Also, a few years after the surgery I started working out, doing a lot of bench presses and things like that. I really wished I hadn't waited so long, it really makes a huge difference, even after the surgery. I highly recommend it.

Burnt_Couch2 karma

No chest tubes right now, not sure if they'll stick them in later or not. I don't really know how those work...

I'm supposed to be out in 4-8 days (total 6-10 day stay). Back to normal life though? I really don't know. Could be a few weeks, or a few months from what I've heard. I'll have to ask my doc the next time he comes in. I just went for a pretty long walk (in my mind at least, I went probably 1,000 feet and I could have kept going but I saw no reason to).

I will try to start working out as soon as I can, I'm actually looking forward to being able to work out! Thanks :)

Red_it_dawg2 karma

Where will you eat cereal from now?!?

Burnt_Couch5 karma

Probably a cereal bowl...but I think the condition is somewhat genetic so maybe I'll have a male child (it's much more prevalent in males for some reason) and use them as a cereal bowl.Nonotreally...

TBDMurder2 karma

As some one who has one as well, were you majorly self conscious your youth life like I was? Was it affecting your organ functions? I only need the surgery for aesthetic reasons, so I'm sticking with it. I mean, my best friends call me "dent" or "Harvey Dent" so why leave that?

Burnt_Couch2 karma

Yes, I was. I was teased as a young kid and after that I didn't like taking my shirt of to swim or anything like that.

My lungs were compressed and not at full "normal" capacity, my heart was displaced in my chest, and it was uncomfortable to work out my upper body muscles.

How old are you? If you're still growing it may get worse, it did for me. Originally my doctors didn't seem to think I should have it done but I decided to go in for an appointment to ask about it when I was 19. Oddly enough before I could ask him my doctor looked at me and asked if I wanted to get it checked out as it has been getting worse as I grew up. A few months later...here I am!

TBDMurder2 karma

I'm 23 years old. I've had x rays done and my lungs expanded downwards to make up for the lack of forward expansion and my heart is in good health, I've been to multiple doctors for suspicion of Marfans Syndrome, since being tall (I'm 6'8") and having a dent are some symptoms but I'm clean of that luckily.

Burnt_Couch2 karma

That's good, I was checked for that as well. I'm super glad I didn't need any sort of heart surgery, THAT would be scary. I'm glad you're in good health, even though I'm happy I had the surgery done if it could have been avoided that would have been nice I suppose. I'd do it again in a heart beat because I needed it to be done and my dent was very noticeable with my shirt off, but if you don't need it, that's good :)

TBDMurder2 karma

What's the recovery period? How long until you can work out your upper chest again?

Burnt_Couch3 karma

I'm in the hospital 6-10 days total I believe, I've heard from a few weeks to about 3 months until I'm back to fully functioning. Considering I've never worked my upper chest out before really I don't know. I think I'll be able to in about 2 months (or I'm hopeful I will be able to).

thelordofcheese2 karma

I knew a dude in college who would crush beer cans in his.

Burnt_Couch2 karma

That is an interesting talent...in his dent? or like with his bar?

captain__sock2 karma

How's the morphine treating you?

Burnt_Couch2 karma

I'm not sure if I'm on morphine or whatever...but whatever it is; it's doing its job well. I'm in virtually no pain and since it's administered through an epidural my head is clear :)

robbob0092 karma

Thanks for doing the AMA! Any idea what would happen if someone used CPR on you?

Burnt_Couch2 karma

Yes, they'll have to press harder. Apparently it will still be possible but just a bit more difficult. I only have the bar in for two years though (I think) so I don't think I have to worry about needing CPR (hopefully!). I am supposed to get a medical alert bracelet to notify people of it though.

Let me know if you have any more questions :)

IgnorantFoolio2 karma

My 2-year old daughter has PE. At this point I have no idea how serious it is or how serious it might get. Her pediatrician doesn't seem too concerned, because one of her children has it as well.

What should I be looking out for that might indicate that surgery may be needed?

Can you recommend anything that might help her childhood go more smoothly?

Burnt_Couch2 karma

I think it'll really become more prevalent as she gets older. It sure did for me. I was pretty fine from a medical standpoint (or at least I didn't have any issues worth talking to my doc about) until freshman year of high school when I found I would run out of breath while playing soccer (I had played soccer for the past 10 years as well, so it wasn't like it was a totally new sport to me).

I would suggest getting her tested for marfans syndrome as I've heard it can be related to having PE.

I'd just try to let her know it's pretty normal and not to be ashamed about it, my doctors have told me the prime age to have it operated on is about when you're done growing but before your bones harden up so maybe when she's older and if it's bad you can see a doctor about it. I'd just keep an eye on it for now :)

Let me know if you've got any more questions and best of luck to you and your daughter :)

llcooljessie2 karma

I have the same condition, but based on your photos, I'd say mine is a little more pronounced. From your symptoms, the only one I relate to is running out of air. I mountain bike in the Rockies, I hike, I run... and I do run out of air. I've always thought I could just train past it and my doctors always say everything works fine. They've just never been concerned enough to say I should do the surgery. What was the turning point that helped you (and your doctors) decided it was necessary?

Burnt_Couch3 karma

When I went and got tested. I went in to my general doctor and we talked about it for a few minutes, he had me go get some tests and then I met with some surgeons and here I am.

I could have functioned probably pretty well but I think this will help me out in the long run, definitely happy I had it done!

I'd go get checked out just to know where you're at and check for marfans syndrome which can be related to having this deformity.

Best of luck to you!

JackBeQuicker2 karma

I, too, have this. I've thought about doing the surgery for a couple years now. I keep going back and forth. Would you mind giving an update after some time?

Burnt_Couch2 karma

Sure, I'll try to make a post about it in a few months when I'm fully recovered, feel free to PM me anytime about it as well. Right now I'm very happy with the result and would do it over in a heart beat!

conkersman2 karma

How bored are you in the hospital? And did they give you pain medicine?

Burnt_Couch3 karma

Lots of pain meds going into an epidural right now. I'll be switching to oral medicine in a day or two.

I'm not bored yet, today is only day two and I slept all through the night comfortably. I'll be discharged with lots of pain meds too which will help at home.

Wiseparasite2 karma

Did you have the surgery where they slide a bar in the side of your ribcage and "pop" your chest out? It's a pretty painful surgery and after I recovered I thought to myself that I would never go through that again.

I had the surgery about ten years ago when I was 15, I got out of the hospital on my 16th birthday. It was the most painful experience of my life, the epidural didn't really help. I was in ICU for three days and the hospital for a total of nine days. When i was getting discharged I remember thinking to myself that I didn't really want to leave because I was still in pain.

Like you I had the surgery for medical and some cosmetic issues, but mine wasn't as bad as yours. I wish you a speedy recovery.

Burnt_Couch3 karma

Yes, I had the Nuss procedure (video in the main post). I'm only 1 day into recovery and have my epidural in still, so it may get worse once that's out and I switch to oral meds but I'm doing well so far.

I skipped right over the ICU completely I guess, went from surgery to a recovery area and right to the general ward where I am now. The pain has been pretty much non-existent for me thus far but everybodys body is different and it does somewhat matter how well the doctor puts the bar in I'd imagine.

Thanks very much for you well wishes, have you had your bar out?

Wiseparasite2 karma

Sorry, I didn't watch that video. I've actually never seen a video of the procedure. It makes it look a lot more painful haha.

That's great news! One day out and you're already doing this AMA.

When the tech came to take my epidural out I guess he didn't know what kind of surgery I had because he just threw me up and ripped off the tape and forcibly(OK I may be exaggerating a bit) put me back in bed and just left. The guy was so careless. So right when I got it out I had to call the nurse for a shot of morphine.

There was a complication I had six months after my surgery where a wire came loose and started trying to poke through, so I had a quick surgery to remove the locking brace on the left side. I got my bar removed three years after my surgery. Still kind of have a sunken chest, but it's not nearly as bad as it was when I was fifteen.

Burnt_Couch2 karma

Yeah, the video was a bad idea to watch before the procedure, it's crazy!

I won't have my epidural out for at least another day, they're trying to manage my pain as best they can and so far it's working great! I've been pretty much pain free, just a bit sore. My nurses and doctors are checking in constantly and I honestly have no complaints.

A wire came loose? Which procedure did you have? All my pieces are inside and I don't think there are any wires involved, did you have the Ravitch or another procedure?

Sorry to hear about your complication :\

Ezperanza2 karma


Burnt_Couch2 karma

Thanks a lot! I hope it keeps going like it is, so far it has been a lot better than I expected and I'm very happy I had it done. I can't wait to get out of the hospital and take my shirt off with all these wires and IVs attached to me and see what it really looks like!

enragedmanatee2 karma

Were you unconscious during the surgery? I mean, I would obviously hope so because that's terrifying.

I have a similar condition, though significantly less pronounced than yours was. I neglected to have the operation when I was in highschool, and now I'm 23 and wondering if I made the wrong choice.

(I'm not sure if there are any severe medical conditions associated with mine.)

Burnt_Couch3 karma

Yes, I was knocked out.

23 isn't too late! I'm 20 now and my doctors weren't worried at all, I'm in the prime age bracket they said, right where I've stopped growing and my bones are still sort of soft. You should go see a doctor and see if you can get some testing done, I'm very glad I have the procedure done and would definitely do it again.

You can get some simple non-invasive tests done to see if it's medically required, they're really easy and don't take long to do, no weird sleep studies or anything like that.

Let me know if you've got any questions about the procedure :)

jathinraj1 karma

Did you felt shocked when you heard about surgery

Burnt_Couch1 karma

Do you mean when I found out I should have it done? I kind of went in to get checked out for it on my own so it wasn't so much a shock. I had some tests done and I was actually looking forward to getting a result that would require me to have the surgery, which I did.

Or do you mean when I watched the video about the surgery itself? That was a bit shocking, I wasn't expecting it to be so violent looking.