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24 Mar 2019
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TOPIC: 24F Recovering from Nuss Procedure 1 Week Ago

24F Recovering from Nuss Procedure 1 Week Ago 1 year 8 months ago #6908

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Hi everyone! I’m a 24 year old woman who had a very severe case of pectus. My Haller Index was 7.3. 

Growing up, doctors acknowledged that I had pectus but none mentioned that this could have any effect on my heart/stamina. I went on assuming mine was just a cosmetic deformity.

I played competitive soccer growing up and while always feeling I had to work twice as hard to keep up, I always chalked it up to me being a wimp.

Finally, this year my boyfriend of 5 years asked me, “Does your chest have any effect on your breathing?” and I gave him my canned response, “Of course not! Don’t you think a doctor would have told me by now?”

A month later, on a ski trip to Mammoth, I had to cut my skiing short and leave my group early because I was winded and exhausted. I stopped and reflected on the question my boyfriend asked me and wondered “What if does affect me?”

I started doing research on this condition, reading medical studies and others’ personal stories. My primary care physician at the time told me “Never in my 30 years as a physician has anyone I’ve seen needed surgery for this and never in the next 30 years will somebody I see need surgery for this.” He lost credibility with me for saying this without asking me to remove my shirt to examine my chest.

I decided to research top surgeons for this condition after learning that most doctors don’t know much about/understand this condition. I drove down to San Diego to meet with Dr. Barry LoSasso who took the time to examine me and explain Pectus Excavatum to me and possible effects.

Not convinced that I needed surgery, I went ahead and had his office schedule an echocardiogram and a lung function test for me.

The echocardiogram was the deciding moment for me. With my Haller Index of 7.3, my chest was severely pushing against my heart. The cardiologist said he often wouldn’t recommend this surgery to people but he did for me.

By the time I decided to go forward with the surgery, Dr. LoSasso had relocated his practice to New Jersey. Because he had a lot of experience doing this surgery on women, and most importantly, adult women, I decided to go to New Jersey to have the Nuss Procedure done by him.

As expected, my surgery went smoothly. Of course, there was pain after, but it was totally manageable. I didn’t end up using my PCA pump (pain medicine) once. The next day, I was up and walking.

I checked out of the hospital on day 4, only spending 3 nights there. Most patients usually stay in the hospital longer, but I was feeling great (as great as you can after surgery) and wanted to go.

Recovery so far has had its ups and downs. The worst pain hasn’t been on site of the bar but from the resulting muscle spasms on my lower back. Muscle spasms after surgery are totally normal and temporary but they’re a pain in the ass. Luckily I was told before I left that they might happen and I have all the meds I need to take care of them. If you have your meds and somebody to massage you, you’ll be fine.

My advice? Don’t travel with somebody funny. My mom is hilarious (intentionally and unintentionally) and laughing hurts when you’re getting used to the bar :)

24F Recovering from Nuss Procedure 1 Week Ago 1 year 8 months ago #6910

Congrats on getting the surgery and on your way to recovery.
What pain meds have helped you most so far?

24F Recovering from Nuss Procedure 1 Week Ago 1 year 8 months ago #6911

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Tizanidine was a life saver for the muscle spasms. I don't think I would have been able to sleep if it wasn't for this. Valium works for spasms as well but I didn't like the way it made me feel. Luckily the muscle spasms only last a few days.

600mg of ibuprofen every 6 hours has been great for the overall aches and pains but I'm weaning off that now.

I have percocet but I haven't needed it.

24F Recovering from Nuss Procedure 1 Week Ago 1 year 8 months ago #6913

Congrats on a successful surgery. I had my Nuss procedure done by Dr. LoSasso nearly two years ago. (Two bars.). And like you, my Haller Index was high: 7.6. Laughing and sneezing hurt like a Bugger so do try and avoid those for now. Physical therapy can begin at the 6 week mark and stretching really makes a world of difference. For me, the difficult area was beneath the shoulder blades.

Keep us posted on your progress and keep good thoughts.

All the best,

BakedAlaskan

24F Recovering from Nuss Procedure 1 Week Ago 1 year 8 months ago #6915

Bri,

I am amazed at how quickly you are recovering!! Congrats!! It took me a month to get off all narcotics and I had back spasms for weeks...I was 27 when I had my surgery. It definitely shows then how differently we all respond to this surgery.

You will indeed notice an exponential difference in your ability to physically perform. I am so excited for you!! It's thrilling when you can see just how much you are able to surpass your preop level of function. B)

Best wishes to you as you continue to heal.

24F Recovering from Nuss Procedure 1 Week Ago 1 year 7 months ago #6922

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Thanks so much! Over the past week, my back spasms had migrated to a couple different areas of my back but I think they're finally going away (knock on wood).

Two days ago I walked up a hill that usually kicked my ass and couldn't believe I got to the top without panting and a pounding heart. Totally validated this surgery for me!
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