Pectus surgery at the operating room

Pectus Excavatum surgery

Author : Pr Jean-Pierre Chavoin, ex-Head of Plastic Surgery Department of Toulouse University Hospital, ex-President and General Secretary of French Plastic Surgery Society.

The hollow chest filling surgery with 3D custom-made implant is a simple and quick operation. It is little painful with low risks of complications, since the rib cage is not affected.

The results are precise and immediate, whatever the type of deformity. Physical activity can be gradually resumed quickly(1).


Before the surgery

A surgical consultation with clinical examination by a referral surgeon will allow you to be informed of the different existing techniques. This consultation is associated to a 3D thoracic scan: CT acquisition of the entire chest, arms along the body on the back.

Cardio-respiratory tests can be also done to rule out the rare contraindications and to check there are no functional disorders(2). Pictures are taken frontally and in 3/4 view.


Details of Pectus Excavatum operation

Photo of the beginning of the surgery with the pre-operative drawing
  • The surgeon makes a preoperative drawing on the patient's skin to mark the exact position of the implant,
  • He performs a 7-cm vertical median incision and prepares the locus to the size of the implant for a perfect stability,
  • The implant is deeply slipped into the locus under the muscle, so that it is completely invisible,
  • The surgeon closes the wall in 3 planes with absorbable intradermal stich.

The duration of hospitalization is 2-3 days maximum.

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Postoperative pain is most of the time short and controlled with grade 1 analgesics.

A thoracic compression bra with median pad needs to be worn night and day for a month.

The sero-haematic and then serous effusion is steady, it requires a puncture to evacuate from the day of discharge, and then every 8 days. Punctures are painless, and their number (from 2 to 5). Work stoppage lasts 15 days.

The complete and solid healing of the suture of the two pectoralis major muscles between them takes a year. The practice of sport is forbidden for 3 months and must be resumed in a progressive and non- violent way for one year.

Post-operative thoracic jacket for Pectus treatment


Risks of Pectus Surgery

The Pectus Excavatum filling surgery is minimally invasive, unlike orthopedic surgeries that aim to reshape the rib cage. Therefore, the risks of complications are very low and can be mostly avoided if the surgical protocol is carefully followed by a surgeon trained to the technique.

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Two to three months are necessary to appreciate the definitive morphological result. It is the time necessary for the oedema to disappear and to improve comfort, which allows for a gradual resumption of sports activities.

A whole year is necessary to assess the quality of the scar.

Before/after picture of a woman's sunken chest surgery
Before/after picture of a man's sunken chest surgery


Modern computer-assisted reconstruction techniques have increased the aesthetical results, mainly in very deep and/or asymmetrical forms, especially in women. Correcting the deformity is in a vast majority of cases complete, definitive, and natural with a very satisfying anatomical restauration

More pictures


Contact a surgeon

AnatomikModeling has selected and trained the most well known surgeons for you, to treat Pectus Excavatum or Poland Syndrome using 3D custom-made implant.

Go to the referral suregons map to find the closest to you.

See the map


Map with worldwide referral surgeons for implant technique


Frequently asked questions


Where can I go to get the surgery? How to choose a surgeon?

We refer you to doctors who can do the surgery (see the map of referral centres). These surgeons are recognised in their profession and have received specific training to be able to insert our custom‑made implants. The list of referral centres increases monthly.

When can I resume sport? What types of sports?

The complete and solid healing of the suture of the two pectoralis major muscles between them takes a year. The practice of sport is forbidden for 3 months and must be resumed in a progressive and non-violent way for one year. Sports involving sudden movements of the pectoral muscles, are not recommended for one year (push-ups, core-strengthening exercises, climbing, tennis, golf, contact sports, etc.).

Is the surgery suitable for those practicing bodybuilding?

As sutured together, the forced contraction of the two pectoral muscles could lead to a transverse movement visible under the skin. There is no functional discomfort or secondary atrophy, but patients practicing bodybuilding should be warned.

What steps should I undertake to have the surgery? What kind of preliminary examination?

You should first consult a referral surgeon. Then you should have a 3D scanning done of your thorax and digital photos of front and ¾ left and right.