While the child is deep asleep and pain-free (using general anesthesia), an incision is made over the breastbone (sternum). The deformed cartilage are removed and the rib lining is left in place to allow re-growth of the cartilage. An incision is made in the sternum and it is repositioned. A rib or metal strut may be used to stabilize the sternum in normal position until healing occurs in 3 to 6 months. A chest tube may be placed to re-expand the lung if the lining of the lung is entered.
Metal struts are removed 6 months later through a small skin incision under the arm. This procedure is usually done as an outpatient.
Update Date 1/29/2013
Updated by: John A. Daller, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Chester, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.