Choosing the proper vacuum bell size for you is essential for the success of the therapy. You should select the vacuum bell size based on the shape and size of your chest. The deformity asymmetry also plays a role.
Before purchasing a vacuum bell, you should always print the parameters and consult the manufacturer to help you choose the correct size.
Consultation With the Manufacturer
To ensure you'll get the right size, you're expected to send the manufacturer the following information about yourself via e-mail.
- Date of birth
- Your height
- Your weight
- Cavity depth (place a folding ruler into the deepest point of your pectus excavatum and place a second ruler as a reference line horizontally over the indentation).
- The distance between your nipples
These are critical measurements for determining the optimal version of the vacuum bell.
Therefore, this measurement should be as accurate as possible (down to the closest fraction of an inch/metric in millimeters)
Also, it would be very beneficial to send them photos from your waist to your shoulders (without showing the face for privacy reasons) in JPEG.
- Photo taken from the front (frontal view)
- Photo taken from half right/half front (semi-profile - oblique view from a 45-degree angle)
- Photo taken from half left/half front (semi-profile - oblique view from a 45-degree angle)
Pectus Healing offers a free consultation with Dr. Alexander Belkin to choose the proper vacuum bell size. You will need to send him the information mentioned above via e-mail.
They require you to make a $25 deposit before the consultation, but the deposit will be returned after.
Print Vacuum Bell Perimeters
In addition to the consulting, Pectus Healing offers free downloadable vacuum bell parameters for each model size to determine which would fit your chest perfectly.
You must print, cut, and attach the paper to your chest with tape. You can also include pictures with the printed parameters attached to your chest.
Make sure you select the Actual Size of the PDF before you print. Measure the printed paper dimensions before applying them to your chest to ensure the measurements are correct. I always thought the 14 cm vacuum bell would fit my chest perfectly.
However, I was very wrong. I ordered the 19 cm x 18 cm vacuum bell as it perfectly fits my chest and deformity type. After receiving the vacuum bell, I compared the printed vacuum bell parameters with the actual vacuum bell.
The dimensions were the same. You can't go wrong with this.
Most Popular Vacuum Bell Sizes
As of May 2022, the three most popular vacuum bell sizes in diameter, suitable for most people, are:
- 16 cm
- 19 cm
- 26 cm
Pectus Healing Vacuum Bell Sizes
- 11 cm
- 12.5 cm
- 14 cm
- 16 cm
- 19 cm
- 19 x 18 cm
- 22 x 21 cm
- 22 cm
- 25 cm
- Personalized Sizing
- 16 x 18 cm
- 16 x 20 cm
- 18 x 20.5 cm
Eckart Klobe Vacuum Bell Sizes
- Large Vacuum Bell (26 cm)
- Small Vacuum Bell (19 cm)
- Small Vacuum Bell Type Bodybuilder (19 cm)
- Small Vacuum Bell Type Women (19 cm)
- Mini Vacuum Bell (16 cm)
Most Common Vacuum Bell Sizes I Recommended
PATIENTS WITH LOCALIZED PE
Patients with localized deformities (sunken chest-deep at the center but not wide) usually use the most miniature models (11 cm, 12.5 cm, 14 cm, or 16 cm).
PATIENTS WITH ASYMMETRIC PE
The sufferers with an asymmetric pectus excavatum (Grand Canyon type) should apply the smallest (16 cm) device to the area with more profound depression.
In my experience, the silicone of the 16cm and the 19cm models is a little more rigid than the larger 26cm device and provides more negative pressure.
The medium-sized model (19 cm) is offered in an additional type with a strengthened silicon wall. It is meant for patients with big chest muscles or sensitive chest nipples.
It is called the "bodybuilder" for a reason. It is also designed for adult pectus excavatum sufferers with a tiny but deep chest hole. If your height is around 1.85m, the 19 cm VB would be perfect for you.
Kids With Pectus Excavatum
I always recommend parents purchase the 16 cm model for kids. because a larger device will cover the chest when the kid enters puberty.
This size works great for every child. Remember that your kid should use the device for a year or two. During puberty, your kid will experience rapid growth. That's why purchasing a larger model beforehand is always a good idea.
Then, you won't have to buy another vacuum bell because the previous one is too small for your kid's chest now.
IF YOUR DEFORMITY IS WIDE BUT NOT DEEP
Getting the largest vacuum bell size (26 cm) is usually recommended if your entire anterior chest wall is hollowed extensively (there isn't a deep narrow dent).
The silicone of this bigger VB is softer than the smaller devices. It also doesn't provide the same negative pressure as the smaller ones.
SPECIAL VACUUM BELL SHAPE FOR WOMEN
Moreover, a unique model is designed that fits adolescent girls and adult women. The silicon body of this model doesn't have the usual circular shape. It is intended at the sides to be easily applied on a woman's chest (not hindered by the breasts).
Of course, choosing the appropriate vacuum bell size is tough without seeing a photo of the available sizes. It is also critically important that the suction cup's circular silicone ring rests on your chest outside the hollow.
If the edges of the cup rest in the recessed area, the suction cup cannot raise the indentation. If unsure about the sizing, I recommend getting the medium-sized (19 cm) model. It has the benefits of both the smallest and biggest models.
If the size doesn't suit you, you can return the item and get your money back.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right vacuum bell size will be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful vacuum bell treatment. You should always consult the vacuum bell manufacturer about the size before purchasing.
I mentioned what sizes are usually most recommended to us in this article. If you're still unsure about the sizing, don't hesitate to get in touch with me. I will share my experience with the sizes and help you decide. Also, it would be best if you considered the product's cost.
Thank you for reading!
- MODEL SIZE CONSULTING DEPOSIT (optional) [Internet]. Pectus Healing TM.
[cited 2022 Nov 27]. Available from: https://pectushealing.com/products/consulting
- Extreme eccentric canal type pectus excavatum: morphological study and repair
techniques | European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery | Oxford Academic
[Internet]. [cited 2022 Nov 27]. Available from: https://academic.oup.com/ejcts/article/34/1/150/351304
- Ma IT, Rebecca AM, Notrica DM, McMahon LE, Jaroszewski DE. Pectus excavatum in adult women: repair and the impact of prior or concurrent breast augmentation. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2015 Feb;135(2):303e–12e.