This odd perception of the pectus excavatum appearing the same, even though the surgery was successfully done is common in many patients after the surgery. They believe they can feel the chest dent the same way they did before surgery.
They know that the deformity is corrected and can see the difference in the mirror, but they still feel this weird feeling.
The phantom phenomenon is typically happening after an arm or leg is amputated. Still, it can also occur after removing an organ. It is feeling the missing part of the body. Everyone experiences it differently.
Does It Disappear?
Phantom pain fades with time. Within two years after surgery, many people report pain lessening by 75%.
If it reappears, consult with your doctor. An underlying condition could be causing the sensation.
However, you should not be afraid if you experience this phenomenon, but it is still good to consult a doctor so that the fear does not worsen.
Do Studies Confirm This?
Although no specific source says that phantom sensation or pain can occur specifically after chest deformity surgery, I believe it is possible based on numerous patient experiences.
Undergoing the pectus excavatum surgery will alter the body shape completely, which can cause perception issues because it's something new to you.
What can you do After surgery to lessen phantom sensation Risk?
You can first try to recognize some triggers. Understand and treat them appropriately. But know that you must manage your phantom sensation, so it does not take over your life.
Talk with your doctor to develop and maintain any possible management plan that will work for you. Avoid things that cause your phantom sensation, such as touching the area.
Finding strategies to relax during those moments is something you can do for yourself without using medicine or other medical solutions. The ideal solution for that may be music or visualization of pleasant things.
Even though it sometimes seems like your thoughts are tricking you, try to replace them with new ones or instantly engage in some form of physical activity to avoid letting them control you.
Performing activities and tasks that distract you from the discomfort and take your mind away can frequently be helpful.
After pectus surgery, during your postoperative period, when you need to be passive and rest, some video games and meditation can provide a distraction and relief if you experience phantom pain or sensations.
However, if these techniques don’t help you, don't hesitate to get in touch with doctors so that you will be relieved from those unpleasant sensations.
If you are currently going through such a period of doubting your thoughts and having such phantom feelings, remember that you are not alone and that these feelings will fade.
However, if this is a big problem for you, it is best to seek professional medical help and find a solution as soon as possible. In the meantime, be mindful that relaxation can be beneficial at such times.
Please feel free to share your experiences if you have had any so we can help somebody going through this.
I hope this blog post was helpful to you. Thank you for reading.