Pectus Surgical Institute


For more than a decade, Dr. Chen has developed a comprehensive surgical program for management of congenital chest wall conditions.  He is vastly experienced in the surgical correction of pectus conditions and has performed over hundreds of pectus correction surgeries including the Nuss procedure and the Ravitch procedure.

Congenital chest wall deformities are more common than one may think.  It occurs in approximately 1 in every 300 children.  The etiology of chest wall deformities is mostly unknown.  There is a strong family history seen in many patients, as high as 40%.  We always consider potential underlying genetic disorders such as Marfan syndrome.  Additional specialist consultations may be important from cardiology, medical genetics, and pulmonology.

The most common pectus deformity is pectus excavatum or commonly known as "sunken chest" or "funnel chest".  The degree of severity varies from patient to patient.  In most cases, the deformity is noticed at birth or very young age.  The severity can be seen to worsen over the growth of the child, particularly during growth spurt period as an adolescent.  The depression of the anterior chest wall involves the sternum (breast bone) and the cartilage portions of the ribs.  Most patients do not have obvious symptoms, but many have exercise intolerance, easy fatigue, and chest pains.  There is commonly loss of lung capacity and shift of the cardiac position due to the compression of the organs from the chest wall.

There are minimally invasive techniques offered at the Pectus Surgical Institute under the direction of Dr. Steve Chen.  The Nuss Procedure is the primary surgical solution for pectus excavatum.  It is a minimally invasive technique for correction of pectus excavatum by implantation of a pectus bar with thoracoscopic (small telescope in the chest) visualization.  The operation utilizes minimal incisions at the sides of the chest and does not require cutting or removal of sternum and ribs.  The Nuss Procedure is now over 20 years in practice and provides excellent long-term outcome with safety and effectiveness.  In many patients with pectus carinatum in which the anterior chest is protruding outward, a customized chest wall brace can reduce the deformity without surgical intervention.