In this section
Chest wall program
Who we treat
Problems with how the chest wall forms are more common than most kids and parents might think. Patients of all ages are welcome in our clinic for consultation. We even treat adults successfully and get referrals from adult providers and surgeons. This is because of our deep experience with these conditions.
We see many young children and their families -- children are never too young for evaluation. At Children’s Wisconsin, we provide great care for these kids and their families because of our experience and work to be the best. The chest wall program often treats these problems:
- Pectus excavatum (an inward facing bump of the breastbone)
- Pectus carinatum (an outward facing bump of the breastbone)
- Mixed carinatum/excavatum
- Slipping rib syndrome
- Thoracic dystrophy
- Postpneumonectomy syndrome
- Chest wall reconstruction
- Other rare problems that were found at birth.
Who we are
Your child will be cared for by a multidisciplinary care team. We guide our patients and families through the process. This includes helping you understand your child’s condition. Then giving you the information to make decisions for your child’s care and, if needed, surgery and recovery. This team has the most experience in the state of Wisconsin.
Our diverse team includes:
- Clinic and inpatient nurses
- A research team
- One of the most advanced anesthesiology-based pain care teams in the country
- Interventional radiologists
- Plastic surgeons
- Physical and occupational therapists
- Child life specialists
In every case, we aim to treat the medical and emotional needs of our patients and their families. We know how these conditions can affect a child’s physical and social development. For the right patient and family, chest wall correction can be life changing. We see changes in confidence, personality, mood, and posture over time.
Quality and outcomes
Children’s is a highly ranked teaching hospital. Our surgeons continue to study and learn how to give the best care. An important part of our work is to track how our patients do long term and use research. This helps us to use new and better approaches. Our outcomes are excellent. We have more than ten pediatric surgeons who do surgery, and many less invasive ways to help, as often as possible.
- At least 35 Nuss bars a year have been placed since 2019, more than 400 since we started.
- We have had no heart injury occur with bars placed at our institution.
- Using MRI before pectus surgery has increased over the last 7 years. Now, more than 90% of the time MRI is used.
- For every patient we use a multimodal pain pathway. This means we have many treatment and medicine options to help comfort your child.
The first pectus excavatum surgery, the Nuss procedure, was done at Children’s with Dr. Donald Nuss. Since then Children’s staff have completed more than 400 Nuss procedures.
We also use non-surgical ways to treat this condition. For example, some patients can be helped using a suction cup treatment, called the Kobe bell. Most children can be helped using compression bracing. Some patients who also have thoracic dystrophy can be treated with a Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib (VEPTR). Or children with pneumonectomy syndrome can get help with tissue expanders.
Some patients need chest wall surgery due to injury or tumor. We have many specialists work with the family to plan for specific needs of that patient. Our group has the expertise and caring that every patient needs.
We look forward to meeting you and your family at the Children’s chest wall program. Our program is part of the division of pediatric surgery. The first visit is the beginning of a great relationship that may last many years. Our surgeons and team look forward to understanding what you and your child need and how we can help. The goal of your first visit is to provide you information to help make the best decisions for your child.
Where we see patients
Imaging, like X-rays or MRI, for these visits can often be done close to home. We can also do many visits virtually using MyChart. This lets you stay safely at home.