Others on the board might know better than me but the Ravitch procedure doesn't have a good reputation. The surgeon who operated on me earlier this month, Dr. Schaarschmidt in Berlin (arguably the most skilled PE surgeon in the world), almost never does the Ravitch procedure anymore. We had a whole conversation about it. The scar is much bigger and more prominent, the result isn't as good, the regression rate is way higher, and the recovery is harder.
I don't mean to be negative - I'm just throwing up a warning in case you're being led down the wrong path. I might be speaking out of turn, but my sense of things from talking to Dr. Schaar and from all the journeys and posts I've read is that the Ravitch is normally recommended by inexperienced surgeons. Can I ask who is doing your surgery and where?
Hi Craig, I've seen Joel Dunning's name come up a few times on this board and at pectusinfo.com. People seem satisfied with his work so that's encouraging.
Personally speaking, I wanted only the very best to operate on me which in Europe is Dr. Schaar, so I went to him. I don't know anything about your chest or Dr. Dunning's mini-Ravitch technique though. Maybe it's appropriate for you. I just get a bit nervous whenever I hear people mention Ravitch as my understanding is that it's only suitable now for a teeny-tiny percentage of special cases.
I think if it was me I'd forward some pictures over to some of the other renowned doctors like Schaar and get a second opinion. Can't do any harm.
I had a quick look at that study and I don't think it's credible at all. Firstly it seems to relate only to post-op complications, there doesn't appear to be any measurement of the quality of the result or the patient satisfaction with it (which is by far the most important factor for most of us). Secondly the study openly admits that the data it's based on was poor: "The lack of definitive findings is largely due to methodological issues with the data analyzed, which was largely of suboptimal quality". I don't think that any useful conclusions can be drawn from it and certainly don't accept that it proves there is minimal difference between Nuss and Ravitch procedures.
Crucially, the most experienced surgeons all strongly favour Nuss over Ravitch. Check out the video below where Dr. J explains why she performs over 90% Nuss. I also know from speaking personally with Dr. Schaar that he feels the same.