Pectus excavatum is a congenital deformity of the chest wall where the breastbone is abnormal and sunken-in. The severity of the deformity is variable; sometimes it is very shallow and is only cosmetically undesirable, while extreme deformities can cause pain and impair heart and lung function.
A number of surgical techniques have been used to repair pectus excavatum. Two common procedures are known as the Ravitch technique and the Nuss procedure. The Ravitch procedure is more invasive and requires a larger incision, but may be preferable in older patients. The Nuss procedure involves making two small incisions on the side of the chest and placing a large metal bar behind the breastbone. Both procedures are effective and the procedure chosen depends a number of factors specific to each patient.