Number of kids: 2
Ages of kids: 5 and 1
Problem: My five year old son has Pectus Excavatum. It is classified as Moderate, and at this time the surgeon we trust suggests we wait a few years to consider operating. One problem that seems unique to my son's case is that his chest is unevenly formed, so that the pectus operation is not going to make it look totally normal.
In my son's case only the lower two ribs are involved, so only four would need to have cartilage removal. I am very, very concerned about having the surgery done before my son is old enough to choose it. We have no family history of pectus, but have about 7 adult friends with varying levels of it that have never had surgery and discount it's necessity. This is a hard choice. Certainly if my son suffers from self-esteem problems we would support a choice, but it seems like the surgery is best done before this would crop up. Knowing so many people who have happily not chosen it makes it hard to put my son through such a painful surgery. I want more information!!
Solution submitted by Diva from CT: Hi, I applaud the forethought you are putting into this decision. My brother had surgery to correct his PE when he was 15. His case was much more severe than you describe, but I do know that we were almost too late to correct it at all. We were not aware that there was such a surgery until then. At the time (around 20 years ago ! ) our surgeon told us that the optimal time to operate on this condition was between 5 and 15. So, it sounds as if you do have some time to wait and let your son get to an age where he can help to make this decision. I know that my brother's recovery was very painful, but the outcome has been great. It may not be as bad for your son since only two of his ribs will need correcting. In my brother's case, his entire sternum had to be cut through, at which time the sternum is supposed to "pop" out to it's proper position. This was not the case with my brother, they ended up having to take a rib from one side to the other to even him out as his rib cage "popped" out to one side. In any case, maybe you could wait a few years to see if your son's case progresses at all, and also to see how he feels about it. I don't recommend listening to your relatives as I am sure that this can be a very serious problem for some and shouldn't be taken lightly. Good luck.
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