IAmA recovering patient that suffered from Pectus Excavatum. I just had the Nuss procedure completed after I found out about it on r/IAmA about 6 years ago and want to pay it forward! At 27 years old I am the oldest patient my surgeon ever operate...
Excuse the possibly incoherent text. I'm fading in and out due to the amount of morphine I'm on.
I (27M) suffered from a condition called Pectus Excavatum, a defect in the sternum that causes the chest to sink inwards. It can apply pressure to the heart and lungs which can lead to complications with breathing.
The condition is usually treated early on when the defect is first noticed in middle school or highschool (13-15yo)
The cardiologist I saw for the procedure advocated heavily against corrective surgery when I met with him 14 years ago. The procedure he was aware of involved cutting the sternum, breaking ribs and installing a metal plate.
Many patients who had this procedure done experience chronic pain afterwards and their quality of life decreased . While I experienced shortness of breath and chest pain during exercise, I weighed the options and decided not to go through with the surgery as I could lead a relatively normal life that I could jeopardize with the procedure.
6 or so years ago I saw an AmA on the front page about a highschool student getting his pectus excavatum corrected with a totally different procedure.
Instead of cutting the ribs and reinforcing with a plate, a minimally invasive procedure is done. The surgeon makes a 4in incision below each armpit. One is used for an endoscope and through the other, a titanium bar with the exact contour if the corrected chest cavity is inserted and rotated into place. This forces the ribs into place from the inside.
At the time I was considering millitary service and after many doctors appointments it was determined that the best course of action for me would be to enlist with a doctors note stating my heart was sound and I was for omit the shortness of breath and chest pain.
Fast forward to last year and I made the decision not to enlist. I also started a job with great health benefits. I spoke with my parents and girlfriend about finally having the surgery done and we all agreed.
I started researching the Nuss procedure
Modified Nuss Procedure for Pectus Excavatum - YouTube
and was delighted that one of the most experienced surgeons in the world, Dr Mark Stovroff was a measily 20 drive away! Dr Stovroff even helped develop the modified procedure into what it is today.
I was supposed to have the procedure done in February but it was postponed several times due to COVID19. I am now recovering in the ICU after finally having my procedure completed with fantastic results! Ask me anything!
Pictures! More to come, no one is allowed to stay with me and I can't move on my own to take pictures