My son (13 years old) had a surgery for pectus excavatum with Dr. Dawn Jaroszewski at the Phoenix Children Hospital (PCH) the 12th of July 2017.
We are Italians and we came in Phoenix just to have Dr. Jaroszewski for our son's surgery. For us it was not an easy decision from a logistics and an economic point of view (in Italy we do not have any insurance coverage for the US), but I believe it was the best decision I ever made for my son.
When I realized that my son was suffering from pectus excavatum I started to do extensive research in patient forums and in scientific literature. The data I found led me to Dr. Jaroszewski at Phoenix's Mayo Clinic. In my opinion, Dr. Jaroszewski and her team are the world's principal exponents for Nuss technique. They have introduced many improvements to the technique originally proposed by Nuss and they continue to improve it. These improvements are able to guarantee better results, improved safety and lesser complications. I have studied several Dr. Jaroszewski webinars and video, and I have read many of her scientific publications. On this basis, I realized that there were some important details of the Dr Jaroszewski’s technique that are very important which I cannot do without: i) shorter bars; ii) multiple bars; iii) sternal elevation (very important to avoid cardiac injury!); iv) fiberwire ligation and v) polypharmacy pain control.
Moreover, I realized that Dr. Jaroszewski has an enormous experience (she performs a huge Nuss procedures per year), and her percentage of post-operative complications is really very low. In addition, about 30% of her pectus surgery are redo from patients that underwent the procedure by other surgeons included European one. With this knowledge in mind, it was very difficult for me to find a valid alternative close to home. I tried to hear from other surgeons but no one practiced a complete and efficient approach to Nuss surgery like Dr Jaroszewski or had valid alternatives. For these reasons we decided to came in Phoenix and I was absolutely sure that my son with Dr. Jaroszewski would be in the best hands possible.
I contacted Dr. Jaroszewski's office and the Mayo Clinic and took an appointment for July 2017. We met Dr. Jaroszewski on 10th July at Mayo Clinic for the first visit and it was a very intense experience. Dr. Jaroszewski is an exceptional person also on the human side, she is compassionate and sensible to understand our needs. At that time, we were obviously worried about the whole situation (surgery, complications, foreign country, language problems, etc.) but she immediately transfer us good vibrations in terms of competence, safety and experience. We immediately felt an emotional bond of empathy with her. She explained in detail how the surgery would take place, the expectations based on my child's initial condition and all possible complications, including her personal case histories of complications that are very low (i.e. zero cardiac injury during surgery).
Fortunately, my son had a symmetrical PE in the lower part of chest so she predicted that the operation would be relatively easy. The medical assistant of Dr Jaroszewski (Dr Primus) gave us precise directions on what to do before the surgery and finally on July 12th my son had the operation. The surgery went very well, my son had two bars, the operation lasted approximately 1.5 hours and everything went as expected. Dr Jaroszewski in the post-surgery meeting told us that she was very satisfied about the surgery and that she had not encountered any difficulties. She gave us some photos taken before and after the surgery in which it was well visible as sternum compression on pericardium was eliminated and how much new space was produced. Then all the postoperative period has gone fine. Pain was always under control. Dr. Jaroszewski after the surgery came 2 times (!) to visit my son at the PCH. During these visits she carefully checked my son, his therapy and his vital signs and told us that everything is going well. In fact, my son walked and ate regularly and after 2 days was discharged.
Another amazing thing of Dr. Jaroszewski is her incredible availability during the recovery. My son was discharged from the PCH on Saturday, July 15th. The same night we had the need to contact Dr. Jaroszewski for a fever rise. We called her office at Mayo and in less than 20 minutes, we had her precious indications by telephone (the problem was then easily solved in a few hours). Believe me this have no price.
At the postoperative visit (7 days after surgery) Dr Jaroszewski, after knowing that we would have been in Phoenix for other 3 weeks, invited us to came back in her office a couple of days before leaving to Italy for a further control. We appreciated so much this fact since it gave us greater serenity to face the long journey to home (6-7 hours by car to Los Angeles and the day after 12+1.5 hours of plane to Italy). At the last visit Dr Jaroszewski and her assistant (Dr. Parrett), gave us all the instructions we could need for the next 3 years (up to the removal of the bars). We were instructed on the X-rays to do and send to Dr J's office, about the therapy, cure of incisions, and how to communicate with them when needed.
We are now at home, my son feels better every day, he moves smoothly and is returning to normal life. He is currently at the 5th week post op and has stopped all meds except occasional Ibuprofen. The operation went well not only from a functionally point of view but also from aesthetically standpoint. We are very satisfied and my son is so happy that now he is always without T-shirt.
I highly recommend Dr. Dawn Jaroszewski to everyone that has pectus excavatum. If you have the possibility please do not hesitate and come in Phoenix this is a magic place for pectus. Here you can find the best knowledge and surgeons for this condition.
I am grateful to Dr Jaroszewski for everything she has done for us and for the patience she has had in answering to my boring questions. Everything about my personal experience exceeded all expectations! We will return to her for the extraction of the bar (this time at Mayo Clinic!). I would not trust to put my son’s life in any other hands.