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Arch Plast Surg. 2020 Mar;47(2):126-134. doi: 10.5999/aps.2019.00318. Epub 2020 Mar 15.

Aesthetic outcomes after surgical repair of pectus excavatum in females: Differences between patients and professional evaluators.

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Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.
Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.
Department of Internal Medicine III, Cardiology and Angiology, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.
Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.



Pectus excavatum is less common in females than in males, and it often aggravates a coexistent breast asymmetry. We conducted a study comparing female patients' versus medical professionals' evaluation of pectus excavatum repair to assess differences in aesthetic outcome ratings. Moreover, we evaluated the influence of surgical correction on patients' self-perception.


Of 30 female patients who were initially screened, 18 patients (mean age, 20 years) who underwent bar removal after surgical correction of pectus excavatum deformity participated in the survey (60%). They completed a questionnaire rating their appearance before and after surgery and responded to a psychological questionnaire about the changes that they had experienced. The mean interval between pectus bar removal and evaluation was 28 months. Standardized preoperative and postoperative patient photographs were evaluated using the same questionnaire by a panel of medical professionals and students (n=24) and the results were compared.


Patients rated their preoperative deformity as more severe than the other evaluators, revealing the significant impact of the deformity on patients' self-perception. Postoperatively, patient and professional evaluations were much better than before and were very similar. The psychological evaluation showed a clear improvement in well-being. The ratings of the medical professionals were not influenced by their degree of medical education.


Surgical correction of pectus excavatum in female patients positively influences body perception and psychological well-being. It should therefore not be considered as a merely aesthetic correction, but as an important procedure to restore a patient's self-perception.


Female; Funnel chest; Self concept; Thoracic surgical procedures

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