Is extra-pleura Nuss procedure more secure and effective?

Liu Shu-li, Wang Wen-ya, Chen Zhen, Zhang Jun, Wang Chen, Li Long, Wang Wen-xiao, Li Xu, Guan Kao-ping, Qiao Guo-liang, Zhang Zhen, Ge Jun-tao, Zhang Jin-shan, Wei Yan-dong, Cheng Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: To compare total extra-pleura Nuss procedure with classical Nuss, and evaluate the efficacies and safety of thoracoscopic total extra-pleural approach of Nuss procedure for correction of pectus excavatum in children. Methods: We managed 69 patients with pectus excavatum from July 2006 to October 2012. Of the 69 patients, 40 underwent thoracoscopic total extra-pleural approach of Nuss (group A), and 29 underwent classical Nuss procedure (group B). In group A, there were 29 boys and 11 girls, and the mean age was 6.4 (ranged from 3.5 to 14.5). Under thoracoscopic guidance, an extra-pleural tunnel was created using a blunt dissector via a right thoracic incision. A steel bar was inserted in the entirely extra-pleural tunnel. The bar was turned and fixed as in standard Nuss procedure. In group B, there were 20 boys and 9 girls, and the mean age was 5.9 (ranged from 4 to 11) years. Under thoracoscopic guidance, a blunt dissector was inserted into pleura cavity directly via a right thoracic incision. It was a standard Nuss procedure. Results: The operations were completed successfully in all patients. None of the children developed pneumothorax or injuries to the pericardium, heart or lungs. The operating time was 42.0 ± 5.3 and 43.4 ± 6.0 min in group A and B, respectively, and the difference was not significant (p = 0.306). Compared to group B, the postoperative hospital stay of group A was shorter (4.0 ± 1.1 vs 5.2 ± 1.2 days, p = 0.001). The outcomes of both groups were similar (97.5 % in group A vs 93.8 % in group B, p = 0.377) but pain time was shorter, and time of taking painkiller was less than those of group B (2.6 ± 0.8 vs 4.1 ± 1.0 days, p = 0.001; 1.1 ± 0.6 vs 1.8 ± 0.9 time, p = 0.008). No patients in group A developed subcutaneous emphysema or pleural irritation, while 5 patients in group B showed the symptoms (p = 0.004). All patients were followed-up for 4–30 months (mean 20.2). During the follow-up, none of the children had pulmonary infection or dislocation of the steel board or fixation instruments before the bar was removed. 69 patients removed their bar after a 24-month period on average. According to Nuss’ postoperative assessment criteria, one patient in group B was fair. The other patients were all excellent or good. Conclusions: Extra-pleura Nuss procedure under thoracoscopic guidance is a safe and less traumatic procedure for the correction of pectus excavatum. It is not only superior in postoperative recovery and pleural cavity protection, but also results in fewer complications than the intrapleural procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-631
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Surgery International
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Nuss procedure
  • Pectus excavatum
  • Thoracoscope

Cite this