In this day and age, plastic surgery for correcting pectus excavatum is widely accepted. The enhanced quality of the embedding silicone material makes this type of surgery very convenient and practical.
The more significant part of adult pectus excavatum sufferers mostly complains about the visible dent in their sternum, not the underlying health issues the deformity can cause.
Because of this, plastic surgeons are forced to create innovations and improve their surgical procedures. They are explicitly requested to repair the asymptomatic pectus excavatum with minimum invasiveness. The focus is on the cosmetically wanted outcome.
Problems With the Nuss Procedure
Minimally invasive surgeries like the Nuss procedure don’t consistently deliver satisfactory cosmetic results. Patients are usually dissatisfied with how the lower parts of their breastbone and chest muscles look postsurgically.
This is probably caused because the diaphragm can hinder the proper placement of the pectus bars. Also, an uneven pectus excavatum is hard to repair cosmetically by relying only on the Nuss procedure.
Moreover, in some cases, especially in adults, there is an increased risk of pectus excavatum recurrence after Nuss bar removal surgery.
Any additional surgical procedure to correct your chest can be hazardous and even ineffective. That is why plastic surgery is often the safest bet for many.
Plastic Surgery for Sunken Chest is Minimally Invasive
Certified plastic surgeons can complete the entire plastic surgery using a surgical implant with a minimally invasive procedure based on the patient’s body frame.
This usually requires less time in the hospital and quicker healing.
You can talk with the surgeon and discuss what you want your chest wall to look like, based on the following factors:
- Deformity severity
- If you are male or female
- Your demands and expectations
- Whether you suffer from other health conditions
How the Process of a Plastic Pectus Surgery Goes
If you want to undergo plastic surgery to repair pectus excavatum, you’ll first have to have an individual meeting with the plastic surgeon.
Beforehand, you must know how you want your chest to look. Then, you thoughtfully explain your needs and wants to the surgeon.
If the doctor is experienced, they will listen carefully without interrupting. After sharing your wants, the doctor will tell you if that is 100% executable.
Then, they will explain the lasting benefits you’ll get and everything you should expect after the surgery. Every single pectus excavatum sufferer’s funnel chest looks different.
The plastic surgeon will determine the very best surgical method and therapy plan for your specific case.
Prepare the Following Documents Before the Consultation
- Your full medical history
- Previous operational procedures
- Former and existing health conditions
- List every single medicational, health, and dietary supplement you’re using
The Doctor Will Examine Your Chest
You should expect the surgeon to check your sunken chest in your first meetup at the clinic. At first, you will probably feel uncomfortable. This is perfectly normal.
Showing the abnormal chest to a newly met person is pretty challenging. However, you must show it with confidence, knowing that those are the last days your chest looks hollow.
The surgeon will take a couple of photos and measurements of your chest. Don’t worry. The pictures will remain private because that is protected by law.
After that, the plastic surgeon will discuss possible risks and complications during the procedure. If you’re okay with that, you can prepare for the surgery in two weeks.
Pectus Excavatum Implant Cost
The price for a pectus excavatum implant continually changes. However, statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons say that pectoral implants start at about $3,800. This is considerably less than a standard Nuss procedure, costing about $40,000.
5 Types of Plastic Surgery for Pectus Excavatum
Silicone implants are the most common plastic surgery for correcting pectus excavatum. It is used for patients that don’t have pulmonary and cardiac impairments caused by the deformity.
The silicone implant is a biomaterial that was studied intensely and is entirely accepted by human tissue. In our case, the silicone material acts like fat.
After sterilization and customization, it is inserted directly underneath the skin through a small skin incision into the indented area.
The silastic procedure is mainly used on an adult or teenage patients that feel insecure about their bodily appearance. This procedure is purely cosmetic.
From a surgeon’s perspective, silicone implants make the inherited protruding ribs much less noticeable.
Pediatricians and plastic surgeons don’t recommend this type of surgery on children, mainly because their anterior chest wall isn’t fully developed.
The benefits are that this surgery is minimally invasive, inexpensive, and easy to perform. The results are excellent and expected.
5 Most Common Silicone Implants Problems
- Material abrasion in the later years
- Late development of seroma
- Dense calcification
- Unpleasant skin volume
- Pain in the surgery area
Some plastic surgery centers can design the patient’s implant with a CT scan or a 3D surface digital scanner. This will create a custom-shaped implant that will fit the patient’s chest perfectly. However, this can cost a lot of money. For example, the Anatomik Modeling Surgery for pectus excavatum uses silicone for implant material.
Fat grafting is a type of plastic surgery in which fat is transferred from one area of your body to another using injection. The fat is usually taken from the stomach, legs, and waistline.
Then, it is directly injected into the sunken breastbone area. The main benefit of this type of surgery is that there wouldn’t be any surgical trauma or noticeable scars.
Fat grafting isn’t widely used for pectus excavatum correction, mainly because there is lacking practice with the procedure. Also, bad results may occur because the chest area’s skin is hugged tightly to the breastbone.
On top of that, most pectus excavatum patients have skinny frames and are underweight. They don’t have a sufficient amount of transferrable fat.
Because of that, fat grafting is not possible. On the other hand, it will work perfectly fine in adult sufferers whose weight is equal to or above their healthy weight range.
To perform the surgery, the patient needs to have excess fat. However, most patients with pectus excavatum are skinny, which makes this surgery impossible.
Macrolane is a body contour filler that is a less invasive option for surgical breast augmentation. Also, Macrolane is known as Hyaluronic acid. It’s been used countless times in plastic surgery, mainly for face wrinkle therapy, with the desire to look younger.
This type of filler is now used by surgeons who can use it to improve the pectus excavatum condition. However, the main problem with this is that a large volume of Macrolane is needed to “fill” a sunken chest.
This will be very costly. Even though there may be a fantastic visual improvement, the result will be impermanent because of resorption. Two years after the procedure, the dent will get back to its original state.
BRAVA – Breast Augmentation and Shaping System
This technique is created for breast reconstruction and enlargement. It works as an outer tissue expander to create edema and boost blood perfusion.
The effectiveness of this technique is discussed in this 2015 study. The BRAVA procedure generates an endogenous organic structure that can take fat injections by lipofilling superior to normal tissue.
A 7-year study published in 2016 reveals how minimally invasive plastic procedures like the BRAVA technique can yield excellent results when combined with vacuum device therapy. Without living with permanent ugly scars across your chest, there will be excellent results in the presternal area.
Repairing a mild pectus excavatum deformity using needle transplantation of cultured autologous chondrocytes is a promising technique.
This type of procedure is currently under investigation. Nevertheless, it is a unique topic in breast enlargement surgery.
Male Chest Implants for Pectus Excavatum
According to a 2017 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report, 987 males got chest implants in 2017. Even though that is a modest amount, the male plastic surgeon Dr. Douglas states this number is continuously increasing.
He adds that he has noticed a 437% jump in applications for silicone implants between 2013 and 2018. Chest implants were the most demanded surgery.
A Miami plastic surgeon, who goes by the name of Dr. Gershenbaum, said that 35% of all male patients who underwent surgery did that for reconstructive purposes.
An example of this is patients suffering from an anterior chest wall deformity, like pectus excavatum. The remaining 65% are patients that have trouble building muscle mass or gaining weight.
They want more definition in their bodies so they can look more attractive. Male patients are becoming more comfortable undergoing plastic surgery for pectus excavatum, improving their chest appearance.
Fixing pectus excavatum with plastic surgery only repairs the aesthetics of your anterior chest wall. If the condition is causing heart and lung issues, you must consider chest reconstruction surgery like the Nuss or Ravitch procedure.
However, if the severity of the deformity is mild and you want to improve how it looks instantly, plastic surgery is a fantastic choice.
In this book, I listed five types of plastic surgery that are scientifically proven to conquer the dent in the sternum effectively.
Out of all, the most effective type is the one with silicone implants. This material is natural for your body. You’ll need to consult your doctor about the implant size and thickness. Plastic surgery with saline implants is minimally invasive, cheap, and quick, and the recovery period isn’t long.
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- Male Breast Implants – The Lowdown on Pectoral Implants [Internet]. Your Cosmetic Source. [cited 2022 Dec 4]. Available from: https://www.yourplasticsurgeryguide.com/breast-implants/implants-pectoral/
- Male Plastic Surgery In New York | Plastic Surgery For Men [Internet]. [cited 2022 Dec 4]. Available from: https://maleplasticsurgerynewyork.com/
- Schwabegger AH. Pectus excavatum repair from a plastic surgeon’s perspective. Ann Cardiothorac Surg. 2016 Sep;5(5):501–12.