Virginia Hospital Opens Nuss Center for Chest Wall Deformities

NORFOLK, Va., Aug. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD) recently unveiled a space dedicated to the evaluation and treatment of chest wall deformities in children and young adults. The new Nuss Center for chest wall reconstruction builds on the hospital’s 30-year leadership in the field of chest wall deformities, inspired by its surgeon-in-chief emeritus, Dr. Donald Nuss. Dr. Nuss developed a groundbreaking technique, now known as the Nuss Procedure, to correct pectus excavatum during his career at CHKD.

In pectus excavatum, also known as funnel chest, the chest sinks in toward the spine, forming a depression. Patients often suffer heart and lung compression, difficulty exercising and poor body image. Prior to Dr. Nuss’ innovation, however, many chose to live with the condition rather than undergo surgery to correct it, which required a large incision and fractures of the sternum and ribs. In the minimally invasive Nuss Procedure, small incisions are used to introduce a curved metal bar, which is guided under the flexible sternum to press it outwards into a normal shape. The bar remains in place for one to three years until the correction is permanent. Bar removal is a simple outpatient procedure.  

 At the recent annual meeting of Chest Wall International Group in Norfolk, Virginia, CHKD’s surgeon-in-chief, Dr. Robert Kelly, presented outcomes from the past decade of CHKD’s 30-year history performing the Nuss Procedure. Ten and 20-year outcomes were published previously. The data showed excellent or good results in over 99 percent of primary repairs, with a low rate of postoperative complications. More than 95 percent of patients reported a high degree of happiness with their results. For some patients with less severe deformities, excellent outcomes were achieved using a non-surgical vacuum bell device. The vacuum bell uses suction to create a vacuum seal on the chest wall, lifting the sternum. Multiple treatment sessions over time have helped correct mild depressions.

CHKD surgeons have also achieved a high level of success and innovation with surgical and non-surgical techniques for the treatment of pectus carinatum, a chest wall deformity in which the ribs and sternum grow outward like a bird’s chest.

Over the past 30 years, CHKD surgeons have treated more than 4,300 patients with a variety of chest wall abnormalities and shared their knowledge and expertise with hundreds of surgeons from around the world. For more information about the Nuss Center, please visit

About CHKD

CHKD is the only freestanding children’s hospital in Virginia and serves the medical and surgical needs of children throughout southeastern Virginia, northeastern North Carolina and the Eastern Shore of Virginia and. The CHKD Health System operates primary care pediatric practices, surgical practices, multi-service health centers and satellite offices throughout its service region. Visit for more information.

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SOURCE Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters

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