I'm a 28 year old New Zealander who had Nuss/reverse Nuss performed at Helios Klinikum (Berlin-Buch). I've had a noticeable pectus deformity since early childhood and have tolerated the physical issues which typically arise from it since teenage-hood; e.g. ever-present shortness of breath, chest discomfort during exercise, reduced stamina, poor posture etc. For most of my life, I've wanted to repair my chest in order to increase my quality of life by resolving these issues. I wasn't so concerned about the cosmetic aspect, though in retrospect, I very much appreciate that my chest now looks completely normal!
Based on my internet research over the years, I decided that Professor Schaarschmidt would be the best choice of surgeon, given that he is renowned as one of the best in the world, and the cost of operation is not only comparatively reasonable but considerably lower than various hospitals in the US/England. Nevertheless, I spent 6 months going through the NZ public health system in an attempt to obtain a proper diagnosis for my condition and gauge/prove how much it affects my sleep and breathing. Frankly, it was a joke. Some of the doctors had never heard of pectus excavatum, despite it being relatively common. Even more experienced consultants and surgeons dismissed my concerns, and by the end, I had received a vague patchy diagnosis of having 'some variant of PE which they didn't understand' and couldn't be bothered researching.
By contrast, I met with Prof. Schaarschmidt 6 months prior to my surgery and within 10 seconds of seeing my chest, he instantly diagnosed me with Currarino-Silverman syndrome, a PE/PC hybrid. He clearly outlined the physiological effects of this condition and the prognosis if left untreated. He told me it was trickier to repair than regular PE or PC, but quite doable.
I opted for surgery and had the sandwich operation performed which involved two bars being inserted, one to treat the PE and one to treat the PC. The operation itself went quite smoothly, and I was able to transfer from intensive care to the regular ward after 2 days. My pain and discomfort was actually lower than expected and quite manageable. My main annoyance at the time was not being able to shower myself until I had my catheters removed after a week :)
The physiotherapist gave me 3 breathing machines which I was to use every waking hour, in order to increase my lung capacity and train my chest to deal with its new anatomy. As soon as possible after the op, I engaged in physical exercise such as walking up and down stairs and around the hospital, and using the exercise bike. My in-hospital recovery was generally quite smooth except that I had pleural effusion which had to be punctured before I was discharged after 18 days and unfortunately recurred until 5-6 weeks post-op. But it was absolutely no problem for me to return to the hospital for a further puncture and another checkup later after that. Anyhow, pleural effusion is a semi-common problem after any sort of chest surgery, and it resolves itself before too long.
After 3 weeks, I was able to travel alone and support myself without much issue. After 4 weeks, I returned to work. After 6 weeks, I was able to go jogging and cut out pain medication (nightly ibuprofen). And now, 10 weeks post-op, I am returning to the gym to resume weight-training and cardio.
Overall, I'm pleased with the result, physically and cosmetically. Prof. Schaarschmidt is a very professional, experienced and understanding surgeon, unafraid of even the most difficult cases. Even in spite of the fact that I speak no German, the nurses were nice, competent and helpful. I would certainly recommend Prof. Schaarschmidt and Helios Kliniken to anyone looking to repair their pectus problem, and I'll be returning for bar removal in 3 years time.