Pectus excavatum is a progressive congenital deformity for which surgical correction is an established procedure. The method of correction using a stainless steel retrosternal bar to maintain the sternum elevated is, in our experience, the most successful procedure. Successful surgical correction usually requires resection of all deformed costal cartilages with transverse osteotomy of the anterior table of the sternum and internal fixation using a bar anterior to the rib cage but behind the sternum. In the last 13 years 118 patients with this deformity have been evaluated and 72 patients have been surgically corrected by the described procedure. Of these 72 patients, 65 (90 percent) have had excellent or good cosmetic and functional results. The best results were obtained when the child was operated on between the ages of 6 and 10 years, the poorest results in those operated on under the age of 3 or over the age of 20. For a satisfactory result the bar must be left in for at least six months; the best results were obtained in those patients in whom the bar was left in for at least one year. No serious complications have followed the use of this technique.
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