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See Recovery Images in the Galleries

First few days

Upon arrival from the hospital, J was very nauseated. To make matters worse, vomiting was very painful. Fortunately in a couple of days his pain was under control and would not have to take the heavy medications that were making him feel sick. At first it was difficult to get in and out of bed and we stayed with him at nights in case he had to get up.

One week after surgery

By the 6th and 7th days J was showing significant signs of recovery. He was able to get around independently and started to take interest in his favorite activities. His appetite was improving as well. The only difficulty he encountered was when he had to cough.
His top ribs on the left side appeared to be swollen. Initially he felt pain in the area. He placed some ice on it to keep the swelling down.

Two weeks post surgery

J was examined by his surgeon at the two weeks post surgery appointment. His results were good with his recovery on schedule. The doctor removed the surgical tapes and cleaned the cuts. J was reminded about having to continue the breathing exercises and to work on improving his posture, which he still found to be a challenge. His heart was still in the right side of the chest but of importance was that it now had enough room.
J was feeling better but was reminded to take it easy. He was getting frustrated with not being able to sleep on his sides and decided to try the couch, sleeping propped up for a few nights.

One month post surgery

J is feeling almost normal again. He still has trouble getting comfortable for the night but he is able to sleep on one side with the support of some cushions. He is getting restless and would like to become more active. The doctor suggested walking but J doesn't like to. He did not mind going on the elliptical trainer in the gym. He seems to have an easier time with his breathing although he did not push himself to the limits. He has also been playing basketball with a friend, running around a bit. But he found that his chest was sore from shooting baskets.
We went to the pool and he enjoyed swimming around. It was amazing to see him in public with his shirt off.

Six weeks post surgery

The surgeon was satisfied with J's recovery. He suggested that J start getting into an exercise routine to build up his upper body muscles. He got right down on the floor with J to demonstrate the correct way to do push-ups.
He was inquiring and taking notes on sleeping habits, general well being, pain or discomfort, level of activity, breathing and self perception with the 'new chest'. He examined the chest for bar position and explained that the flared ribs will become less noticeable in the coming year.
We received and discussed the photos taken during surgery. The doctor provided a letter of explanation about the Pectus Bar in J's chest. He recommended that we send away for a Medical Alert charm.
Everything seemed to be in order. A routine chest ex-ray was ordered and J was dismissed until the 6 months post surgery check up.

Three months post surgery

J has continued to recover and feel more comfortable each day with the bar in his chest. He joined a competitive swim team with daily training of 2 and a half hours. He suffered a couple of weeks of aches and pains while getting into shape, that his coaches felt were normal. Initially the stabilizers caused some minor discomfort as well.
At first J was concerned that he would not be able to keep up but soon realized that he was no longer experiencing the pre surgery breathing and stamina difficulties.
No longer self conscious about his chest, J began interacting more confidently with peers. He even ventured off to school dances, which he had avoided completely in the past in fear of 'being found out'. J also began sharing his pectus experience openly with friends.

Six months post surgery

J chest has began to show significant changes with the daily swim training. He had gained muscle on his arms and chest. The bar had settled as well, leaving a small dip on the bottom. The surgeon confirmed that this was not a concern and cosmetically it contributed to adding definition to the chest muscles. J's posture continued to remain a problem requiring frequent reminders for correction. Old habits are difficult to break. His flared ribs have improved slightly.
Overall the correction provided good physical and cosmetic results. It was evident that the pre surgery breathing difficulties have been resolved. J regained the stamina and athletic agility he had, prior to the years of pectus changes.
J had continued interest in sharing information with others through posing for pictures to document his development and occasional exchanges on the forums.

One year post surgery

J is still swimming 2-3 hours a day and feeling great from the regular training. He has not had any problems with the bar so far. It doesn't seem to limit his activities in anyway. Cosmetically his chest looks great with a bit of lower p.e. remaining but over all good symmetry and finally some muscle build. He still requires reminders about posture, bad habits are difficult to break. Recently J underwent a one year follow up Pulmonary Function Test and the numbers were in the normal range "no evident obstruction" - a considerable improvement on the pre surgery test which identified "abnormal volume loops", "upper airway obstruction" from the "chest wall deformity".
[view Pulmonary Function Analysis reports, before and after corrective surgery]

Second year post surgery

J has made it to junior olympics in the US fall/winter swim session. He has placed high and has become one of the top regional swimmers. Cosmetically he further improved the look of his chest through the training. He continued to have a slight dip of lower p.e. but with good muscle tone it had the appearance of added definition rather than a deformity. Posture continued to be a problem but not significant with the athletic appearance.

During the later part of the second year, J began to experience some muscle pains from the stabilizers during weight training. He began to look forward to having the bar removed. With completion of the two years with the Nuss bar, his surgeon advised to have the 'hardware' removed. For further information, select the post bar menu item.