Before and During Pectus Excavatum Surgery

Pediatric Surgery

Before and During Pectus Excavatum Surgery

Contact Information

(608) 263-6420

The Pediatric Surgery team at American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, treat children with pectus excavatum, also known as sunken chest or funnel chest.

What can I expect before surgery?

  • Before surgery your child will have a computed tomography (CT) scan to measure the chest and the depression in the breastbone and see if the depression is crowding the heart and/or lungs.
  • A list of exercises will be given to your child to help strengthen the chest and shoulder muscles. Deep breathing and posture exercises to improve and maintain a “correct" posture (shoulders back with back in straight alignment) will also be recommended.
  • Most of the patients undergoing surgical repair of a chest wall abnormality are in their pre-teen/teenage years. Acne is common in this age group and can present a problem if you child has acne on his/her chest and back. If your child suffers from acne, or experiences a breakout prior to their operation, it is important to call and notify your surgeon as soon as possible in order to prevent your child's surgery from being cancelled when you arrive.
  • If your child has difficulty swallowing pills, they may want to practice before their operation. A good exercise to practice swallowing pills is to try TicTacs and a cup of water.
  • Most families attempt to schedule their child's operation around a school break. Expect your child to be in the hospital for four to five days, and home for a week after discharge. If your child undergoes repair during the school year, it may be beneficial to notify your child's school of this extended absence. You will receive a letter during your child's hospital stay excusing him/her from school and sports activities.

Starting Pain Medication Before Surgery

It is extremely important to start MiraLAX® before surgery. MiraLAX® is taken daily with liquids. It has no taste and dissolves easily and completely in beverages such as water, juice or tea. Your child should take one capful, twice a day, for three days prior to surgery.

MiraLAX® is available in seven-, 14-, and 30-dose sizes plus in pre-measured single dose packets and available at national drugstore chains or supermarkets. There are generic versions available. Please see your pharmacist for more information and possible substitutes available at your local pharmacy.