Although correction of pectus excavatum (P-Ex) is well-known to most pediatricians, the need for surgery and the potential for physiologic benefit have been controversial. Following the introduction of corrective surgery several decades ago, there was limited objective evidence that repair was of physiologic benefit.

Following is a review of recent studies demonstrating the physiologic benefits from minimally invasive correction of severe P-Ex.

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Measurement of the pectus severity index using a CT scan. This is calculated by dividing the inner width of the chest at the widest point (a) by the distance between the posterior surface of the sternum and anterior surface of the spine (b).

Pectus excavatum is the most common chest wall deformity in which the sternum and ribs grow abnormally, resulting in sternal depression or “funnel chest.” Aside from cosmetic concerns, the rationale for surgical repair was that P-Ex would...

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