To Nuss or Not to Nuss? Two Opposing Views

Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, North Carolina 28203, USA.
Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 02/2009; 21(1):85-8. DOI: 10.1053/j.semtcvs.2009.03.007
Source: PubMed


Although the issue of the appropriate approach for the repair of pectus excavatum remained unsettled for decades, just when we thought that the consensus was clear, an entirely new method was introduced: the Nuss operation. This technique now challenges not only the previously established standards, but also the basic conceptual views of pectus surgery. In the following text, 2 opposing views on the subject are presented: the angle from which Francis Robicsek, a pioneer in conventional pectus excavatum surgery, views the issue, and the opinion of Andre Hebra, who has extensive experience with the Nuss operation.

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    ABSTRACT: This review is trying to address the effectiveness and sustainability of results following minimally invasive repair of pectus excavatum (MIRPE). The aim is to present these results for the benefit of clinicians and the patients. Literature search has revealed 179 hits, which were independently assessed and led to 80 publications being formally reviewed. Studies reporting results from less than 10 patients were excluded. Thirty-five studies were found to be reporting results from patients' and/or surgeons' perspective and they were included in this review. Data from the United Kingdom registry for MIRPE were also included. Results from over 2997 patients (age: <1-85 years) who had MIRPE and 1393 patients who had their metallic bar removed were assessed. The most common indication for surgery was cosmesis. There was a net gain with regard to self-esteem for 96-100% of the individuals. A percentage of procedures (0-20%) was assessed by surgeons as having an 'unsatisfactory outcome' and a number of patients (0-25%) reported an 'unsatisfactory end result.' However, these percentages are not necessarily referring to the same patients and an unsatisfactory result does not seem to affect the positive effect on self-esteem. The reported changes in social life, lung capacity, cardiovascular capacity, exercise capacity and general health are based on weak data and significant improvements, if any, are probably seen in a limited number of patients. The metallic bars were removed after 1.5-4.5 years and there is an overall 0-4.5% reported recurrence post-bar removal. In conclusion, MIRPE may improve cosmesis and self-esteem of patients with pectus excavatum deformity. Direct or indirect improvement in other physiological parameters may also help the 'well-being' of these patients and their social integration. There is a clear need for standardisation in the way results are reported in the literature and a socioeconomic analysis with regard to gains, benefits and costs related to MIRPE.
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    ABSTRACT: The introduction of the Nuss procedure in 1997 for treatment of pectus excavatum, in conjunction with the ever-expanding body of medical information available on the internet, significantly raised the level of awareness for this deformity as both an anatomic and a functional problem. The subsequent increase in referrals for pectus excavatum repair provided large patient series for clinical analyses to better define underlying physiologic impairments and stimulated surgeons to develop technical improvements to enhance the safety and effectiveness of pectus excavatum repair. Clinical assessment, diagnostic imaging, and cardiorespiratory testing of patients with pectus excavatum have helped to characterize physiologic impairments associated with severe pectus excavatum and to define inclusion criteria for surgical repair. Appropriate timing of repair is important to minimize complications, especially recurrence. Evidence of improved cardiorespiratory function after pectus excavatum repair has been presented. As a result of numerous technical improvements, safe and effective operative correction of pectus excavatum has been reported for both the Nuss procedure and open repair. The findings presented in this review provide objective evidence of the cardiorespiratory impairment associated with severe pectus excavatum. Clinical identification of affected patients should prompt timely work-up and referral for pectus excavatum repair if inclusion criteria are met. Regular follow-up through pubertal growth is recommended.
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