Nuss Procedure

Hi, I'm 18 and have recently had the nuss procedure to correct my PE about 6 weeks ago. Healing up well now with a vast improvement to my chest! It's still hurts quite a lot when I laugh, cough, sneeze etc which I think is because they had to break my ribs in 4 places to fit the bar. Was just wondering how long it would be before I could laugh again? If anyone knows I would really appreciate you sharing your experiences with me!
JakeHornby94 JakeHornby94
6 Responses Aug 28, 2012

Hi, don't know if you decided to have treatment but yes it is available free on the NHS (implant, ravitch, Nuss) I have given explanations of each on my video :

The doctors will not laugh or look surprised if you show them, they are quite understanding and reassuring (especially the surgeons who deal with it all the time)

Make sure you put your desire for surgery and say how its caused emotional stress or physical issues and they will refer you.

from when I went to the doctors to now (2 weeks post treatment) its been 4 months. So the whole procedure from first getting a doctors appointment, to having the bar out for ravitch lasts about 6 months. (The bar is in for 3 month on ravitch.)

any questions ill help with:)

I can't swim because of the fact I don't show my chest of in public so never learned, and same jealousy when it 25 degrees and everyone takes their top of but I'm the only one with my shirt on, its really frustrating, so it can cost depends on what surgery you have ok thanks, and I think I will book an appointment to see my GP be the first time iv been for over 10 years lol thanks mate :)

I only told a few of my mates, well showed them my chest. I was very conscious about so just used to wear tshirt when others took theirs off, or like when i went swimming I learnt to push my chest out and hold my breath so it looked normal until I was actually in the pool! Erm my surgeon didnt charge me, he put it through the NHS I think. Said something about if they asked he would say it was affecting my lungs/breathing so was necessary for me to have the operation. But I think the cost would be dependant on the surgeon. My advice would be to see your GP and get him to refer you to someone who specialises in PE repair

It's not the pain I'm nervous about, its that iv not shown my chest to many people before, most of my friend don't know I have PE only a select couple know, and yes I live in the uk,lowestoft, and does it cost to have surgery???

I was the same dont worry. I got referred to a specialist and they gave me the option of surgery. The pain is quite intense for the first few weeks but its gets more easier and bearable as time goes by! Plus they'll give painkillers and that to help.The results are worth it though. And yeah i am, are you?

Good for you mate, im thinkig of seeing my GP to see what I can have done but iv a bit nervous, are u in the uk????

Dear fellow PE folks,

I was born with PE and yes, like all of you, avoided all shirtless activities throughout my life. I'll never forget begging and praying that I would be on the "shirts" team when playing "shirts vs. skins" basketball games (surprisingly, I had a pretty good lucky percentage).

Anyways, during the burgeoning years of the internet and chat, I decided to see what others with PE were doing and if there was a way to "fix" it.

In 2000, I came across a chatroom, kind of like this one, where I found fellow PE sufferers and really took refuge, not only with learning of techniques on surgery, cosmetic tricks, etc.. but also to know that I wasn't alone.

You are not alone. There are thousands if not millions who have it. Not only that but if you think about everyone out there who has some different kind of imperfection that is not "normal" and are hiding it, it is the same psychological nightmare. Millions of fellow human beings.

I had corrective surgery done, as per the suggestion of someone who posted on that chat board way back in 2000. It was performed at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore by the great Dr. Colombani.

The surgery consisted of them securing a metal rod lengthwise across my chest (about nipple level), underneath the sternum and securing the rod to my ribcage on both ends. The rod "pushes out" the sternum, like a brace. You wear this rod/brace which is secured to your ribs by some kind of clips for around 2 years.

When I saw my "new chest" with the sternum "out", I must say, I felt like "wow". I was almost purposely taking my shirt off at the beach, etc... It felt like shackles had been removed.

Was it painful? Sure, especially the first few days after the surgery. But eventually, you get used to it.

So, cut to about 1 1/2 years later, the right side of the rod/brace, where it was secured to my ribcage started to feel like it was loose and kind of rubbing or grinding in a painful way so I had the brace removed by a colleague of Dr. Colombani who was working at UCLA Medical Center (I was living in LA at the time). She removed the rod/brace and that was that.

A few weeks after the rod/brace was removed, I felt and noticed that my sternum did "settle" back in a little bit. I was concerned so I went back to the UCLA doctor and asked her about it. She smiled and said, it looks great. And both of her assistants nodded in agreement.

I guess I was paranoid. I thought maybe since it wasn't in for the full 2 years, that maybe it would regress back to its original position. Also, after decades of looking at a PE chest, I believe psychologically, you still see it. The paranoia and old way of thinking is another hurdle to overcome...even after the physical has been resolved or reduced.

It has now been 13 years since my surgery. I'm older, both physically and psychologically. I do work out at the gym to try to enhance the "normalcy" of my chest but overall, I am satisfied with the saga I undertook those many years ago.

I will admit, I am still hesitant to take off the shirt. Old habits die hard. There are two 2 inch long "slit" like scars from the incisions they made to install the rod/brace underneath my nipples...but only one is really visible. If anyone asks...which is never, I just tell them it's from a ribcage procedure and that's about it.

My sternum does still go in a little, but not like before. Before, it looked like a birth it looks like it goes in a it does for many.

And another thing. I had the procedure done when I was in my early 30s. Dr. Colombani told me that he had zero concern about my age.

If I could post pictures on here I would. My PE was, I'd say if you took a half of a grapefruit and inverted it between your nipples, that's about how severe it was. I know some have more and some have less.

I hope this has been helpful. I'm sorry for not posting on here a lot sooner because it really helped me when I read the chat board those 13 years ago.

If anything, I'm living proof that after 13 years of having the PE surgery, I'm okay and the procedure was a success.

Best of luck!