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Chest wall program (Pectus)

Correct chest wall deformities with the experts at CHoR

Over the past six years, our program has helped hundreds of patients achieve renewed self-esteem (an important issue in children and adults) and improve their physical performance by improving heart and lung functionality to improve endurance and activity levels.

The team at CHoR has extensive experience diagnosing and treating chest wall including:

Why choose CHoR for your chest wall reconstruction?

  • Our team has cared for hundreds of patients
  • Each treatment plan is tailored to your child’s unique diagnosis
  • Families in central Virginia can receive expert care close to home
  • Dr. Yeh has been over 23 years of experience with the Nuss procedure in pectus repair and is one of the early adopters of the operation

How we evaluate and diagnose your child

Making an appointment for evaluation is easy. Your primary care provider can refer your child, or you can call CHoR directly to schedule an appointment.

At your first appointment, you will meet with Dr. Yeh and discuss care options. We will work together to create a tailored plan to best suit the needs of your child. Testing will happen at the Children's Pavilion to ensure consistency and expertise.

Most patients need the following testing to help us determine the best and safest way to approach care:

After diagnosis, our cardiothoracic surgeon will work with your family to recommend the best treatment option for your child. 

Treatment options for pectus excavatum (“sunken chest”)

After diagnosis, Dr. Yeh will work with you to recommend the best treatment option for your child. The options can range from observation (in mild cases), to non-surgical techniques, to minimally invasive surgery, depending on the severity of the condition. Rarely, a more invasive surgery might be recommended.

Nuss procedure

If surgery is necessary, we favor minimally invasive repair known as the Nuss procedure. This is our most commonly performed procedure and involves small incisions made on each side of your child’s chest (under the arms) to place a metal support bar to reverse the depression or sunken appearance of the chest.

Your child will be able to eat and move around right after surgery and return home usually in two days. Our inpatient physical therapy team will aid in helping them move more frequently and comfortably. Most children can return to school in a week and resume normal activity after six weeks.

We will schedule follow-up appointments and then arrange a time approximately two years after surgery to discuss removing the bar.

Non-surgical options

Not all patients require surgery and there are nonsurgical options, especially for milder cases.

Treatment options for pectus carinatum (“pigeon chest”)

After diagnosis, Dr. Yeh will work with you to recommend the best treatment option for your child.

Commonly, pectus carinatum can be treated without a surgeon using a compression brace that will decrease the protrusion on your child’s chest over time. We have a comprehensive program around brace fitting and monitoring to assist your family through this process.

Gabe's story

Gabe's sunken chest affected his ability to be active and even laugh. Learn more about how Children's Hospital Foundation Heart Center gave Gabe his health and a renewed sense of confidence.

 
Thomas Yeh
Thomas Yeh MD, PhD, FACS Cardiothoracic surgery, Chest wall, Cardiology Read more
Sherly Jacob
Sherly Jacob MS, RN, NP-C Cardiology, Cardiothoracic surgery Read more
Sherri Maters
Sherri Maters MS, RN, CPN, NP-C Cardiology, Cardiothoracic surgery Read more

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