William Osler Health System has joined a handful of hospitals in the GTA to offer a surgical technique that corrects a congenital deformity that causes ribs and the sternum to grow abnormally.
William Osler Health System has joined a handful of hospitals that offer a surgical technique to correct a congenital deformity in the chest. Dr. Kashif Irshad and Dr. Paul Chiasson have begun performing the procedure that reverses sunken or funnel chest, a disorder that causes ribs and the sternum to grow abnormally. Named after Dr. Donald Nuss who developed the procedure in the 1980s, the NUSS technique involves inserting a metal bar into the chest cavity. The bar is removed after two years. “In two years, when the bar is removed, the chest wall stays in place and the patient doesn’t have any foreign materials in their body. It’s kind of the same principle as wearing braces to correct the alignment of teeth,” Irshad said. The technique is considered minimally invasive, though patients are required to go through several pre-operative tests to ensure they are ideal candidates for the operation. The recovery process can also be very painful and restricts a person’s mobility for an extended period of time. Pectus excavatum or funnel chest impacts one in every 1,000 children born. People sometimes get the Nuss procedure done for medical reasons, but many teenagers and young adults – typically males – choose to have surgery for cosmetic purposes. Andre Da Cruz, 21, of Brampton recently became the first patient at Osler to undergo the NUSS surgical technique. “I’m 100 per cent glad I did it. It may be months till I’m able to play soccer but in the end it will pay off,” Da Cruz said. “I’ll be myself again.”