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Immediately After Surgery

Following surgery, patients are transferred to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) for observation. It is here that the patient will awake from the anesthesia used during surgery. The PACU is staffed by specially trained medical professionals who monitor the condition of patients immediately following surgery. Patients are typically transferred to regular rooms within a few hours.

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Length of Hospital Stay

The typical hospital stay for most patients is 3 to 5 days. During that time, hospital staff will work to effectively manage post-operative pain, provide physical therapy, such as deep-breathing exercises, and provide instructions on recovery.

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1 to 4 Weeks After Surgery

During the first four weeks after surgery, patients will have multiple follow-up appointments with their surgeon to monitor recovery. 

Patients will receive information on specific physical limitations prior to returning home from the hospital. It’s important to follow the activity guidelines provided by the surgeon or hospital staff. Specific instructions may vary on a case-by-case basis but patients should plan on taking it easy for the first four weeks after surgery. As pain subsides and lessens during this time, it is important to continue following the guidelines provided unless you are specifically told otherwise by the surgeon. Adhering to the guidelines will help your recovery.

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4 to 6 Weeks After Surgery

Patients are typically cleared to return to normal daily activities within a four to six week timeframe but should continue to follow all doctor recommendations on activity and movement restrictions.1,4

Once a patient is four to six weeks post-op, surgeons may advise that patients should do the following:

  • Frequent walking
  • Deep-breathing exercises performed twice a day, every morning and evening
  • No waist bending, twisting, or log rolling
  • Keep a straight back with no slouching
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6 to 12 Weeks After Surgery

Once you are six to twelve weeks into your recovery, patients may be able to return to normal activities and may begin playing certain non-contact sports. Contact sports are never recommended, however, heavy lifting is allowed after 2 months and surgeons may advise that patients can get back on the field, court, or in the pool after 3 months.2

Published clinical research suggests that your cardiopulmonary function (breathing and stamina) during exercise may improve significantly after your surgery.3 However, activity levels and cardiopulmonary function will vary and patients may not notice a difference in these functions. You should always follow your doctor’s instructions on appropriate levels of physical activity. 

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12 Weeks After Surgery

After 12 weeks surgeons may advise that patients are cleared to resume all normal activities.

It is always important to follow specific instructions from your surgeon, but most patients are not forced to sacrifice participating in regular daily activities at this time point. The remainder of the treatment period, up to bar removal, should be life as usual with non-contact sports, certain forms of exercise and activity encouraged to facilitate chest growth and increase the strength of chest muscles.

FinishLine

Bar Removal

The Pectus Support Bar(s) should be removed once your surgeon determines that your treatment is complete. Bar removal usually takes place 2 to 3 years after your original surgery and typically does not require an overnight hospital stay.4 One or both of the original incisions are used to gain access to and remove the bar.5

Patient Education Materials

Patient Guide to Recovery After Pectus Surgery

Find A Doctor

Information & Resources

FAQ for Pectus

What is the Pectus Bar?

  1. Nuss, Donald, and Robert E. Kelly. "The Minimally Invasive Repair of Pectus Excavatum." Operative Techniques in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 19.3 (2014): 324-347.
  2. MINIMALLY INVASIVE REPAIR OF PECTUS EXCAVATUM: THE “NUSS PROCEDURE” American Society of Pediatric Nurses: http://www.apsna.org/resource/resmgr/teaching_materials/minimally_invasive_repair_of.doc
  3. Maagaard, Marie, et al. "Normalized cardiopulmonary exercise function in patients with pectus excavatum three years after operation." The Annals of thoracic surgery 96.1 (2013): 272-278
  4. http://www.chkd.org/Our-Services/Nuss-Procedure/Nuss-Procedure-Post-Op-Care/
  5. Liu, Wenliang, et al. "A simple technique for pectus bar removal using a modified Nuss procedure." Journal of pediatric surgery 48.5 (2013): 1137-1141.

 

 

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