Have you ever seen someone with a sunken chest? I remember a kid back in high school that had one. Dr. Urban’s late brother had this condition as well. Apparently it’s pretty common especially in boys. This was a topic for WAMU’s Morning Edition this morning.
The technical term for this condition is pectus excavatum. I thought it was a condition that one had to just live with, but apparently it could be corrected with painful surgery. The good news is now it can be corrected painlessly. I love living in the 3rd millennia.
The thing that caught my ear was that pediatric surgeons are using orthodontic type techniques to painlessly correct what was once very painful to correct.
This new procedure was, “developed by Michael Harrison, a pediatric surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco’s Benioff Children’s Hospital”. Dr. Harrison says, “Instead of, rip(ping) the whole (chest) apart and put(ting) it together over a matter of hours, a better way to do it, and to think about it, is to fix it like the orthodontist does your kids’ teeth — a tiny little bit, a millimeter every day” http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/07/30/157441675/magnets-may-pull-kids-with-sunken-chests-out-of-operating-room.
They implant a magnet under the skin in the chest, then put a brace with a magnet on the patient’s chest, and it pulls the chest out a tiny bit at a time, just like orthodontists do with teeth. I think this is simply brilliant.
If you know a youngster with pectus excavatum check out the links on this blog. If you need a good dentist give us a call.