Non-surgical sunken chest treatment device may eliminate surgery

Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters logo

Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, a research center for chest-wall deformities and a training site for surgeons, performed 2 non-surgical vacuum procedures to correct a common chest deformity called pectus excavatum, also known as sunken chest syndrome.

The vacuum bell device, uses sustained pressure similar to those used in body shops to pop out dents, marked its 1st human use of a non-surgical pectus device, according to a press release.

Pectus excavatum, caused by an overgrowth of cartilage in the ribs and sternum, is the most common congenital deformity of the chest wall.

"Years from now, we may look at the surgeries and realize that many of these conditions could have been corrected with vacuum devices," Robert Obermeyer, who is leading the project at CHKD, said in prepared remarks. "CHKD has always made efforts to minimize surgical intervention and I believe this could eliminate the need for surgery in some pectus excavatum patients."

The patients must use the device an hour a day for 3 to 6 months and continue to use it for about 2 years to make the correction permanent, the hospital noted.

CHKD will monitor the progress as well as the long-term effectiveness of the innovative non-surgical procedure, according to the press release.

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