The first time I did the vacuum bell treatment for pectus excavatum, I wasn’t under any medical supervision. However, I had my parents and my brother right next to me.
We knew that the treatment was safe and had no dangerous side effects. We read every scientific study before purchasing it.
In this article, I will write about my overall experience using the vacuum bell device.
My Vacuum Bell Progress In the First Month
I first wore the vacuum bell when I had free time during the day. After applying the device for several weeks, I felt taking a break for several days was necessary. I did that to dismiss any chest and skin sensitivity to external pressure.
With time, my sunken chest familiarized me with being raised out of the dent. After a few weeks, I slowly increased the device application time to several hours a day.
It was also advised to do Medical check-ups every month. A month after starting the vacuum bell therapy, I went to my doctor. He was astonished by the fruitful results. That encouraged me to continue the treatment until I repaired my chest.
My Tips for You
For long-term correction of pectus excavatum, you should continue to apply the vacuum bell for a year. The length of the therapy depends on the severity of your deformity.
Don’t rush the first vacuum bell therapy. Please be cautious about the skin side effects. Your goal in the first month is to get familiar with the power of the vacuum bell.
My First Experience With the Vacuum Bell
My first impression of the vacuum bell was a bit surprising. I didn’t expect it’d be that big. I always imagined it being smaller. The device is shaped something like a giant silicone doughnut.
I was thrilled. After I used it for the first time for around 20 minutes, I instantly noticed that the lungs had much more space. It expanded my entire chest.
After using the vacuum bell for about ten days, I managed to pump my sternum close to the glass. The morning after the 10th day of doing this, the indentation of the pectus excavatum (which was 2.5 cm deep before starting the treatment) stayed elevated on its own.
I was delighted with it.
What I Did to Prevent Pressure Loss
To correctly position the device on my chest, I used to lean against the wall or a table to push it onto my chest with more force. I used this trick to position the device better to avoid falling off my chest during daily therapy.
I Was Very Motivated
I was a bit hardcore with the vacuum bell because I pumped until real chest pain occurred. The motivation to fix my pectus excavatum deformity was too high. Tolerating pain was a piece of cake for me.
How Much I Pumped
If you have a gauge on your vacuum bell pump, try to pump the air out of the device to about 120 – 150 mmHg (5-6 inHg) of negative pressure and leave it on for an hour. I used to follow this successfully.
How I Cared About the Skin On My Chest
Other than the skin problems I had initially, I had no issues. My chest skin was beautiful after implementing the skin routine before and after each treatment.
The vacuum caused the skin to be reddish because of the sharp curves of the suction cup. Ten minutes after taking the device off, everything was normal again.
I felt a Vibration In My Chest
The feeling of suction is extreme. I noticed an energetic vibration in my chest when I tried to speak.
Generally, it is a gratifying sensation of pain that lessens after a few minutes.
My Experience Timeline
I could only use the device for a few minutes at the start. The pain was tolerable. However, chest circulation sometimes goes crazy. During the first few days of therapy, I needed to lie down.
After three days, I saw that I had flattened my chest through the transparent viewing window. When I took the device off, the sternum stayed elevated for around 2 hours before it fell back.
However, it doesn’t fall back to the old depth. It remains promoted for a few millimeters after a week.
I was amazed by this. It was proof that the vacuum bell therapy could correct pectus excavatum. I was so motivated that I continued to use the device without taking a day off.
It works just like a dental brace. If you do not wear them daily, the teeth will return to their original state. For best results, most patients wear braces for up to three years.
The beginning phase is always the hardest. After a couple of days, you’ll get used to it. After five weeks, I could apply the vacuum bell without problems for up to 2 hours or more.
After finishing the final third stage of the vacuum bell application, I took a six-week pause. I wanted to give my skin and bones some rest.
The dent fell back by only 0.2 cm during the break, while it was raised by 1.5 cm. The red circle and the darker discoloration in the center of the hollow were gone during the break.
I didn’t have any problems with the blisters. I wrote about the way I deal with them in the text above.
How I Applied the Vacuum Bell for 8 Hours
My orthopedist advised me to wear the vacuum bell for as long as possible. He told me that the sternum would return to the hollow position if I only wore it for an hour a day. At that time, I was still a high-school student.
He counseled me to wear the vacuum bell during the whole night for about 7 hours while I was sleeping. I was doing that, and I removed the device while preparing for school in the morning. I habitually put on the vacuum bell after returning home from school for another 2-3 hours.
If you do the math, that is an 8-10 hour daily therapy. With this simple tip from my orthopedist, I lifted my sunken sternum almost to a flattened position in about seven months of treatment.
The Bottom Line
I was highly motivated to correct my pectus excavatum deformity. It was ruining my life on a psychological level. I ignored the red skin rashes that formed around my chest. All I focused on was fixing my inverted chest without surgery.
Generally, the younger you are, the faster you want to get rid of pectus excavatum. The older you get, the more cautious you turn out to be. That was my experience applying the vacuum bell to improve my deformity.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me. Thank you for reading!