The Nuss procedure for Pectus excavatum

Spire Leicester Hospital offers specialist minimally invasive surgery for a common chest deformity in adults - the Nuss procedure for Pectus excavatum.

This common chest deformity can be treated quickly with minimal scarring and a rapid recovery time.

Pectus excavatum

Pectus excavatum (funnel chest) is a condition that affects the breastbone (sternum) and the ribs. It is one of the most common anomalies of childhood, one in every 1,000 children has some form of the condition and it is more common in boys than in girls.

The condition is caused by growth of excess connective tissue between the ribs and the breastbone. Pectus excavatum does not affect growth or development but as the children grow, the chest depression often becomes more pronounced and may cause some symptoms such as shortness of breath on exercising and exertion. By adolescence and young adulthood the person may also experience psychological features associated with negative body image.

The Nuss procedure

Prior to the development of the Nuss procedure, a variety of radical surgical procedures were used to correct this deformity, which entailed the patient staying a long time in hospital and an extended recuperation period. In 1987 Dr Donald Nuss, developed a new technique for the correction of pectus ecavatum, known as the Nuss procedure which is minimally invasive, hence a quicker recovery period.

The operation

The procedure is carried out with an epidural, and two incisions are made either side of the chest wall for the insertion of a curved steel bar under the breastbone. The bar is fixed to the ribs on either side, is not visible from the outside and stays in place for two years and is then removed.


The immediate recovery time in the hospital is 4-5 days, with one night in the high dependency unit. Attention is paid to post operative pain relief and advice on how to move about to maintain the position of the bar. After discharge, the patient is expected to slowly resume normal but restricted activity, such as heavy lifting or strenuous exercise.

The consultant will follow up the patient at two weeks and six months.

Bar removal

The pectus support bar is removed after between two to four years as a daycase procedure under a local anesthetic. In general Patients are able to leave the hospital one to two hours after the removal. 

The Nuss procedure at Spire Leicester Hospital

The Nuss procedure for Pectus excavatum is performed at Spire Leicester Hospital by Mr. David Waller, Consultant thoracic surgeon

  • The procedures can be performed from 16 years of age to 25 years.
  • Referral by GP is necessary to secure an initial consultation.
  • A guide price for this procedure for self pay patients is £12,750 including removal of the pectus support bar

To find out more about this procedure call us on 0116 265 3021 or complete our form on the right-hand side of the page.

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