I never thought I would see a day where my "dip" in my chest was gone. I honestly, can't believe it. I'm so thankful Dr. Jaroszewski takes people seriously with this. Before surgery, my heart function was down to 40%. I was extremely fatigued, depressed, and down. My chest always hurt and burned when doing any kind of physical activity and it just kept getting worse. I am glad I did some google research and found Dr. J and made the trip to see her!
My consult with her was long and thorough. My regular doc of 15 years never even knew I had PE. Crazy huh? Even though I have complained of extreme fatigue my whole life to him. Dr. J explains everything so well and she knows EXACTLY what tests to run to show your cardiac output. Im so thankful someone thinks PE is interesting enough to study it and help others who have it.
My surgery was successful. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be but its amazing what our bodies can tolerate. Dr. J and her team were so good. They are always a phone call and email away and ALWAYS get back to you in a timely matter.
This surgery isn't easy, but I wouldn't hesitate to let Dr. J do it again if I needed too.
My only complication after surgery was a paralyzed vocal cord. Not sure the total cause but Dr. J helped me find a qualified ENT to check it out and it eventually started moving again on its own about 9 weeks after surgery! So after some speech rehab and strengthening for a couple months. I'm back to teaching and singing and I can't thank her and her team enough.
I am looking forward to taking the bars out in 2.5 years with Dr. J. I know I am in good hands with her.
If you are considering having this done, look no further than Dr. Jaroszweski! Don't waste your time on someone who doesn't know what they are doing.
Thank you Phoenix Mayo, Dr. J and team from the bottom of my now, unsquished heart. :)
Doctor Jaroszewski saved my life after another "skilled surgeon" in chest wall reconstruction nearly killed me. I was conned into believing he was as good as Dr J and I would not have to travel across the country to see her.
The first thing you must know and understand before undergoing a Nuss procedure or any chest wall reconstruction procedure is that it isn't over until the hardware is removed and recovery is complete. It is not about when the bars go in its all about how your chest looks and feels after the ribs settle once they come out. Period.
You must have confidence in your surgeon that they have the artistic ability to foresee the entire process for your specific body type and rib structure. All people and their bodies are different and your surgeon must sense the strength and rigidity of your bony frame work while placing the bars to understand what must happen so that when the hardware is removed your new chest structure settles into a fine form. Chest wall surgery IS AN ART, its takes experience, confidence and, refined talent to create a superb end result - after the bars come out.
I did not understand this and I chose my first surgeon poorly and he nearly killed me.
What follows is my personal horror story and word of warning.
The man I went to initially had a great bedside manner, he talked the talk, he instilled a false sense of confidence in me towards his abilities. He made me believe he was "The Guy for the Job", it was all for show. After an initial bar placement (titanium bars because I tested positive for a nickel allergy) I woke up with my 'dent' only half reduced, my breasts sutured to the side of my ribs and, my rib flairs protruding further out than ever before. H really had a complete disregard of who I was as a small breasted person and never looked forward towards the end result to have a care how I would appear in the mirror. It turned out he cut through the lateral aspect of my breasts without even pushing the tissue up out of the way of his scalpel.
Eight weeks later after the lower bar flipped and entangled under the upper bar, I went into my first revision. This time he said "Don't worry, I got this." just before I went under but I was already committed. When I was finally brought out of anesthesia the following day after a ten hour surgery in which suffered multiple broken ribs, I found myself intubated and in deep fear and pain. This time he placed two stainless steel bars with three stabilizers and steel wire ties (not sutures) to secure everything in place. These are only a small portion of how badly he mutilated my body and I am still battling PTSD after waking up intubated and 'trapped inside my body' in pain with no way to communicate my needs. When I finally was able to look my 'dent' was only slightly more reduced than the first Nuss. In addition, I developed internal contact dermatitis that caused my body to grow new tissue inside of my chest to isolate the bars. Once the outside my skin was on fire, inflamed and painful we became aware of what was happening. As time wore on it became continually more difficult to breath and my heart to pump blood as my organs had less and less room to function. Sixteen months after my first revision Doctor Dawn Jaroszewski was kind enough to take me in and save my life.
Turns out my first surgeon, like many surgeons, was instructed by the manufacture sales representative in how to perform and place the Nuss bars. His fellowship and training did not include chest wall reconstruction. He was a cardiothoracic surgeon who like others was looking to increase his revenue stream by claiming and coning me into feeling like he was well trained and equipped to perform such surgeries.
If a Surgeon says they've been thoroughly trained in chest wall reconstruction question them fiercely, it may save your life. Ask about their fellowship training; where and what they focused on. If a surgeon tells you they've been trained ask them...
- Whom trained you?
- Where did it take place?
- How long did the attending supervise your work?
- How many procedures did you perform under direct supervision of a qualified chest wall surgeon?
- How many Nuss procedures have you performed to completion? (bars out)
- Do you have any patients willing to share their surgical experience with me?
Some folks will even say they've trained under Dr jaroszewski where as in reality they may have only spent a few hours in observation of a single procedure and never actually developed the hands on skills under direct supervision of a skilled chest wall surgeon. So listen carefully to the wording of their answers and question them fiercely.
Don't fall for the sales pitch - song and dance like I did, go see Doctor Dawn Jaroszewski at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale; the first time, the only time. Flat out I will tell you; few if any, have the vision, feel and, skills to perform chest wall reconstruction with as many highly successful outcomes as Dr jaroszewski. Take my advice from where ever you are hop on a train; plane or ,automobile, and get out to Scottsdale to see the only one whom has earned my trust and gratitude after undoing the mess another surgeon created and gave me a new and better lease on life. Dr Jaroszewski is easy to talk to her team is top notch and understand the special needs of pectus patients. The Mayo is a person centered, care focused, specialized hospital and the area is full of easy going things to see and do before and after your procedure. It's a long road so remember its not over until the tall lady takes those bars out and makes her final adjustments. You won't be disappointed.
If you want the best, start and end with Dr J and her team
Ease of Correspondence with Doctor
Doctor's Friendliness and Courtesy
Clarity of Doctor's Explanations
Accuracy of Doctor's Predictions
Doctor's Apparent Knowledge of Procedure
Doctor's Availability During Recovery
Rate Your Cosmetic Outcome
Would Recommend to Others
As I got older I starting getting fatigued and even passing out from activity that should not cause that kind of reaction. I did not know anything about PE at the time (I was 40 years old). I had an extreme 'dent' but it was just how I grew up, it was my normal. My GP and I talked about my fatigue and ran a battery of tests on me including an ecocardiogram. The result was I had a healthy heart and should not be having these symptoms. She suspected because of my extreme PE, maybe my heart and lungs did not have room to work.
Thus started my journey into the world of PE surgery. I met with some cardiothoracic surgeons in my area (I am from Texas). They did not inspire a lot of confidence. I am sure they were capable, but none had done a procedure on someone my age. They(2 different surgeons) also said they could correct my PE with one bar. The little bit I had read, I was not sure about that. Also, when it came time to talk about surgery dates, both were available at my leisure. This might not be fair, but in my life when I hire someone for job, they really good ones usually have a list of people to get to before they get to me. With those red flags I decided to broaden my search outside of Texas.
That is when I found Dr J. I am grateful I found her and Mayo. She inspired a lot of confidence in our first meeting. I was a bit of an edge case because of my age and severity of the PE, but I could tell she had 'been there, done that'. I decided to schedule a surgery date. Not to my surprise, I had to look 6 months out to get on her schedule. The surgery date came and she put in 3 bars. Everything went as she said it would. The recovery was probably one of the most painful things I have had to endure but her team managed it well. Prepare yourself for this and listen to her and her team and you will be fine. They really knew what was going to happen before it happened and were on top of my care.
I have been in and out of a few hospitals and I think Mayo and Dr J were the most concerned about my care and well being than any I have been in. I had the bars out 3 years after the initial procedure and it went very easy compared to the bar insertion.
The bottom line:
1. I am happy with the result.
2. I am grateful I found her and I feel fortunate she practices in a facility like Mayo.
3. If you need this kind of help, you will not find someone better.
My favorite thing about Dr. J (and there are a lot of amazing things to choose from!) is her impeccable attention to detail. From the correction itself to the medications she prescribes, you can tell that Dr. J thinks of everything. If something isn't working, she's adaptable and has a plan B...or C...that's just as effective. She views her patients as individuals and doesn't treat their corrections like an assembly line. She's flexible with the number of bars, their placement, and the ultimate result. In a way, she's very artistic, which is so beneficial for a surgery that has so many cosmetic implications.
Though it's obvious she's brilliant, Dr. J is approachable and explains things in a way that's easy to understand. She's very honest and to-the-point, which I appreciate immensely. She'll give you the facts and listen to your concerns, talking you through any questions you may have. Her team is fantastic as well, and it's clear that they are well-educated about pectus, the surgery, and the recovery. Dr. J surrounds herself with excellence - that's for sure - and you're in amazing hands at Mayo Phoenix. Everyone treated me and my family with courtesy and respect and spent quite a bit of time with us making sure we understood my condition, the surgery, and the recovery.
If I'm being picky, there are only two things you might want to be aware of...
1) It was very difficult to get anyone on the phone pre-surgery. To be fair, I think there was a personnel change during the middle of my consultation process, so maybe that affected their ability to respond? Since surgery, I was set up on their portal, and their response time has been great on that medium. On the desktop portal and mobile app, there's almost an immediate response from a PA or nurse if you have a concern or need a prescription refill. So while her office is slow over the phone, it's excellent with online communication.
2) They don't schedule surgeries until 2-3 months ahead of time, which makes it a little difficult to plan if you're traveling.
Overall, though, those are very small concerns compared to everything else. I would choose Dr. J and her team for my pectus repair over anyone else and feel very blessed that I was able to go to her. When I say that she's the best, there's absolutely no exaggeration. If you need a pectus repair, you absolutely couldn't find a better team than Dr. J's.
Dr. Jaroszweski and her team at Mayo Clinic gave me hope for a better life. Just a few years ago I could only dream that my pectus could be fixed. I got the nuss procedure at 28 years old and just had bar removal about a month ago after having three bars placed in me 4 years ago. I am now all recovered and feel like i can breathe deeper then i have since i was 12 years old when i first started developing pectus excavatum, the results cosmetically also could not be better in my opinion. I will forever be thankful for Dr. J and her staff, if PE affects you i highly recommend going to Dr. J since i believe there’s no one better, you won’t regret it.