Thoracoscopic Nuss Procedure for Young Adults With Pectus Excavatum: Excellent Midterm Results and Patient Satisfaction
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BACKGROUND: Chest wall remodeling by substernal placement of a Nuss bar is the treatment of choice for children with pectus excavatum; however, it has not yet gained widespread acceptance in adults. We demonstrate that thoracoscopic Nuss bar insertion in young adults is safe and leads to excellent results. METHODS: Adult patients who underwent thoracoscopic Nuss bar insertion at one institution between 2006 and 2012 were identified. Data on demographics, postoperative outcomes, quality of life, and cosmetic satisfaction was collected. A validated single-step quality of life survey was administered to patients. Student's t test and the Wilcoxon rank sum test were used for statistical analysis. RESULTS: Seventy-three patients (65 male, 8 female) with a median age of 20 years (range, 16 to 51) were included. The median follow-up was 44.6 months (range, 36.9 to 73.26). Most patients (59 of 73, 81%) had one bar placed. The median length of hospital stay was 5 days (range, 3 to 9) and the median duration of epidural anesthesia was 3 days (range, 0 to 7). There were 4 reoperations (5.5%) in the immediate postoperative period: 2 for bar displacement and 2 for poor cosmesis. All reoperations were performed thoracoscopically. Other postoperative complications included pneumothorax (3 of 73, 4.1%) and ileus (1 of 73, 1.3%). Fifty-one patients participated in a quality-of-life survey (73% response rate). The mean self-esteem score improved from 4.6 of 10 preoperatively to 6.5 of 10 postoperatively (p=0.002). The social impact of the pectus deformity became less significant (mean preoperative score 3.6, mean postoperative score 2.8, p=0.02). The severity of initial postoperative pain was much improved on follow-up. The vast majority of patients (41 of 51, 80%) were satisfied with the cosmetic result, and 96% (49 of 51) would opt to have the surgery again. CONCLUSIONS: For young adults who wish to correct their pectus deformity, a thoracoscopic Nuss procedure is safe and results in a high rate of patient satisfaction, significant improvement in self-image, and excellent midterm cosmetic results.
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