7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Central time, Monday through Friday

Expert pectus excavatum surgery.

Come to the experts at Mayo Clinic for surgery to correct pectus excavatum, a congenital condition in which the breastbone or sternum grows inward. At Mayo Clinic, we approach the unique needs of every child and adult who needs surgery with a multidisciplinary, personalized plan and compassionate care.

This condition is frequently recognized in childhood, usually during a growth spurt between the ages of 12 and 14, when the chest wall becomes clearly concave and seems sunken. Pectus excavatum can compress the heart and lungs and cause symptoms like shortness of breath, lack of energy, and difficulty doing exercise and activities. These can become moderate or severe.

Care tailored for each child and adult.

To correct pectus excavatum, we typically use the minimally invasive Nuss procedure. Using only small incisions, we can place a steel bar in the chest to align the sternum with the rest of the chest cavity.

  • Surgery for children. The chest wall is still flexible and growing, so we place one or more bar in the chest for three to six years, typically removing it at age 19 to 21. Repair is ideally done around age 12 and commonly done at age 14.
  • Surgery for adults. The chest wall has become more fixed, so our surgeons have deep expertise in placing multiple bars in the chest to achieve correction while also managing pain.
  • Precision for adults using CT imaging and 3D printing. We can custom create a mold of one or more bars, then use the mold to bend and contour a bar to match the patient’s unique anatomy for more precise positioning and repair.
  • Low-dose CT scan for children. We can usually determine if repair is the best option using only pulmonary function tests and a chest X-ray. If a chest CT is needed, we use cutting-edge low-dose CT scans, with the equivalent radiation of just one chest X-ray.

Innovative pain management.

We provide a comprehensive, personalized plan, including:

  • Cryotherapy for children. Cryotherapy temporarily freezes and numbs nerves in the chest for up to three months. Benefits include significantly reduced pain after surgery, few or no narcotics needed, and quicker recovery. Many patients are out of bed the day of surgery and go home the next day.
  • Pain management for adults. This is a critical part of treatment, and we use multiple techniques to effectively manage pain after adults have had surgery and returned home.

Multidisciplinary approach.

If you’re an adult looking for the best surgery option, know that your care team can draw on the deep knowledge and expertise of multidisciplinary experts across Mayo Clinic.

If you’re looking for the best care for your child, know that you’ll also have the support of Mayo Clinic Children’s Center, where our multidisciplinary pediatric specialists are passionate about caring for children and families.

Whatever you need, our team approach puts your needs at the center of everything we do, so you can achieve your best outcomes.

Contact us to request an appointment.


8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Central time, Monday through Friday

Patient Testimonials

I had a lot of fear as a parent, but Mayo took it all away. When Scarlett was wheeled back to surgery, I knew she was in the best hands possible. I’d picked the best.


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