Is the grass greener? Early results of the Nuss procedure

Scott Engum, Fred Rescorla, Karen West, Thomas Rouse, L. R. Tres Scherer, Jay Grosfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

107 Scopus citations


Background/Purpose: Minimal access surgery (MIS, Nuss Procedure) is gaining acceptance rapidly as the preferred method for pectus excavatum repair. This shift in operative management has followed a single institution's evaluation of the procedure. This report describes an additional experience with the Nuss procedure. Methods: Twenty-one patients with pectus excavatum underwent repair by the Nuss Procedure. The patients ranged in age from 5 to 15 years (average, 8.2 years). There were 19 boys and 2 girls. Results: In 1 patient (age 5 years) the MIS procedure was aborted because of persistence of chest wall asymmetry. The other 20 patients had completion of their procedure without intraoperative complication. The operating times ranged from 45 to 90 minutes; however, there was an additional anesthetic set-up time (average, 45 minutes). All cases utilized a single support bar (11 to 17 inches). Patients underwent extubation in the operating room and were admitted to a ward bed with an epidural catheter in place for pain control a6d received intravenous analgesia. The hospital stay ranged from 4 to 11 days and averaged 4.9 days. Early postoperative complications included ileus (n = 1), bilateral pleural effusion (n = 2), atelectasis (n = 1), fungal dermatitis (n = 1), pneumothorax (n = 1), and flipped pectus bar (n = 2). Delayed complications included flipped pectus bar (n = 2), marked pectus carinatum requiring bar removal (n = 1), mild carinatum (n = 1), mild bar deviation (n = 1), progressive chest wall asymmetry (n = 3) with 1 requiring bar removal and open pectus repair, pleural effusion (n = 1), and chronic persistent pain requiring bar removal (n = 1). The length of follow-up is 3 to 20 months with an average of 12.3 months. Conclusions: The Nuss Procedure is quick, minimally invasive, and a technically easy method to learn; however, our data indicate there is a significant learning curve. Although previous reports suggest that few complications occur, we believe further assessment of patient selection regarding age, presence of connective tissue disorder, and severe chest wall asymmetry are still needed. Long-term follow up also will be required to assure both health professionals and the public that this is the procedure of choice for patients with pectus excavatum. Copyright (C) by W.B. Saunders Company.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-251
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2000


  • Chest wall deformities
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Pectus excavatum
  • Thoracic abnormalities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Is the grass greener? Early results of the Nuss procedure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Engum, S., Rescorla, F., West, K., Rouse, T., Tres Scherer, L. R., & Grosfeld, J. (2000). Is the grass greener? Early results of the Nuss procedure. Journal of Pediatric Surgery, 35(2), 246-251.