Vacuum Bell History, Full 1974-2022 Timeline

Evidence Based This post has medical citations

The vacuum bell treatment of pectus excavatum has a long history. Applying a vacuum to lift the sunken sternum was used more than a century ago.

In Europe, the idea of a vacuum device to repair the concave chest deformity has been discussed for many years. However, technology always trailed behind.,

Pediatrician Lewis Spitz and the Munich Orthopedist Fritz Lange were the originators of this method. They used a glass bell to repair the pectus excavatum deformity for their first experiment.

However, this wasn’t a success. 

Uncomfortable Materials

The materials were insufficient, and adverse side effects occurred. The suction cups used at this time were made of glass.

They were heavy, stiff, and unbearable to wear. Patients couldn’t wear them for long enough. They couldn’t see a good fixation on sunken chests, and the development of vacuum bell therapy has stalled.

This stopped the use of this non-surgical method for plenty of years. Ever since then, this method has improved considerably. 

This method is also known as a cup-suction procedure, as defined in 2006. Because of the pectus excavatum surgeries’ invention and their initial success, scientists weren’t motivated to invest their time and energy in improving vacuum therapy technology.

Image of Eckart Klobe using his vacuum bell (Trichterbrust Saugglocke as called in German) to correct pectus excavatum.

Eckart Klobe Fixed His Own Chest

During the 1990s, materials for vacuum devices greatly improved. This made them capable of applying powerful forces.

In 1992, the German chemical engineer Eckart Klobe created an impressive device for treating pectus excavatum. With this suction device, he corrected his concave chest from 1992 to 1995.

According to Pectus Peru, an organization close to Eckart Klobe wrote, on Facebook that Eckart Klobe was offered surgery to fix his deformity, but he declined.

He started experimenting at home with vacuum cleaners on his chest and thus invented the modern vacuum bell that helped thousands of us correct our chest deformities. 

He elevated his breastbone for two and a half years so that no sunken chest was visible anymore. Scientific studies concluded that Eckart Klobe’s vacuum method proved promising and effective in the surgical and non-surgical correction of pectus excavatum.

Vacuum Bell Development

In 1997, he registered his patent for procedures and equipment for non-surgical repairing of the indented chest.

The effectiveness of this method became popular among inverted chest sufferers. He decided to create an “everyday” suction bell. It had very little to do with his original model from 1992. He made hundreds of samples before developing a device that worked consistently.

In 2002, the Eckart Klobe vacuum bell was registered as a medical product for the non-invasive lifting of the sunken chest and was made available to the market. Because of this, Eckart Klobe’s vacuum bells could be sold and used in the European Union (EU).  

In 2003, Eckart K. founded his own business solely for the progression, manufacturing, and promotion of his useful vacuum bells.

In Germany, the vacuum bell is also known as “Trichterbrust Saugglocke.” By 2004, the company had already made the 400th suction bell.

Best Innovation Award

In 2013, Eckart Klobe received the Strategy Award for Best Innovation. The vacuum bells by Eckard Klobe are CE-certified and patent-registered. 

Dr. Robert J. Obermeyer, heading the non-surgical correction of the PE project at CHKD, met with Eckart Klobe.

He visited the manufacturing facility where these devices are produced. He became aware of the effectiveness and safety of the vacuum bell. That helped accelerate its classification by the Food and Drug Administration as a class 1 medical device, which permits the sale and use in the United States.

Since April 2012, Eckart Klobe’s vacuum bells have had an FDA Registration in the USA. In January 2014, they received an MDEL (Medical Device Establishment Licence) in Canada, and the vacuum bells could be sold there without any limitation.

Article by:

Mihail Veleski

My name is Mihail Veleski. I used to suffer from the pectus excavatum deformity during my teenage years.

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