A young man who had steel bars inserted into his sternum this week to correct a disorder that causes an indention in the middle of the chest was the first adult to undergo the procedure at Sharp Memorial Hospital, where he was recovering Friday.

The 10-hour minimally invasive surgery on Monday involved inserting curved, stainless steel bars into Brandon Walters’ sternum through incisions in the side of the chest. The patient, 21, was expected to remain hospitalized until at least Saturday, with full recovery expected to take several weeks, hospital officials said.

Before and after X-rays of sternum in corrective surgery. Photo credit: columbiathoracic.org.

The bars will remain in Walters’ chest for three years as muscle tissue develops to keep his sternum in place, then will be removed during an outpatient procedure, according to the hospital.

The procedure is typically performed on children with the pectus excavatum disorder, which is caused by the growth of excess connective tissue between the ribs and the breastbone, and which can put pressure on the heart and lungs. In adults, the depression becomes more pronounced as they get older.

Walters’ surgery was performed by Dr. Barry LoSasso, who developed Rady Children’s Hospital’s surgical program to treat children with pectus excavatum. The so-called “Nuss Procedure” was developed by Dr. Donald Nuss of Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk, Va., and was first performed in 1988.

Sharp staffers said the next patient to undergo the Nuss procedure at Sharp Memorial Hospital is an 18-year-old who will have the surgery next month.

– City News Service

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