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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2011 Jun;141(6):1403-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2011.02.026. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

Ten-year experience with the muscle split technique, bioabsorbable plates, and postoperative bracing for correction of pectus carinatum: the Innsbruck protocol.

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Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, Medical University Innsbruck, Austria.



We reviewed further clinical experience with our approach for pectus carinatum repair: modified surgical approach of pectoralis muscle split technique, bioabsorbable plates with screws, and postoperative compressive brace.


From April 2000 to February 2010, 55 patients underwent pectus carinatum repair at our department with modifications of conventional Ravitch repair. There were 14 female and 41 male patients, mean age of 19.3 years at the onset of treatment. Postoperative treatment involved fitting of a lightweight, patient-controlled chest brace.


Average follow-up was 13.7 months. Patient satisfaction was excellent for 40 patients (72.7%) and good for the remaining 15 (27.3%); aesthetic appearance was excellent for 37 patients (67.3%) and good for the remaining 18 (32.7%). Postoperative evaluation was objective measurement with a thorax caliper and clinical examination. No major perioperative complications were observed. Postoperative complications were mild recurrence of deformity (n = 3) and persistent, mild, single costal cartilage protrusion (n = 2). No patient had palpable plates or screws, and there was no material breakdown.


The combination of muscle split technique and absorbable osteosynthesis represents an alternative in pectus carinatum repair. The pectoralis muscle split technique allows early patient mobilization and rehabilitation. Bioabsorbable plates get completely absorbed, avoiding second operation, and chest brace provides postoperative immobilization of the anterior thoracic wall during healing and avoids development of hypertrophic scars. Our combined approach to the correction of pectus carinatum deformities yields predominantly excellent esthetic results, with low morbidity, low costs, and less invasiveness, leading to high patient satisfaction.

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