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Programs & Services

Chest Wall Center

At the Chest Wall Center at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, you can take comfort in the care your child will receive. Every conversation and decision is centered around your child – their condition, symptoms, needs and goals.

Your child and family will have access to a multidisciplinary team that includes pediatric surgeons who specialize in treating chest wall deformities, a care coordinator, therapists and pain management physicians. Together, we’ll find the approach that’s best for your child and gets them back to what matters most.

Pectus Clinic

Our Pectus Clinic is led by eight pediatric surgeons with unparalleled experience in pectus surgery. The clinic, held once a week, meets with patients and families to review their unique symptoms.

We’ll start by getting to know your child and their medical history, including how long you’ve noticed any deformity and the problems it causes. We’ll also perform a physical exam to understand your child’s overall wellness. If your child has been experiencing symptoms that interfere with daily life, we will order additional testing to get a clear picture of your child’s health and chest wall structure.

These tests may include:

  • 3D testing – A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will capture clear, 3D pictures of your child’s chest. These images will allow us to better understand the severity of the pectus.
  • Echocardiogram – An echocardiogram helps us evaluate if (and how severely) your child’s condition is impacting their heart function.
  • Pulmonary tests – Because pectus can interfere with lung function, a pulmonary test will help your child’s care team understand how well they are able to use their lungs and identify any impact on breathing.
  • Metabolic stress test – Our center is one of the few in the country that use a metabolic stress test to better understand if pectus is affecting how your child’s body is using oxygen.
  • Allergy testing – The bars used in the Nuss procedure are made from surgical stainless steel. If your child has a metal allergy, a titanium bar is available.

Once your child’s tests are complete, our team will have an honest and open conversation about the next best steps. Mild cases don’t always need surgery, especially if your child isn’t experiencing any symptoms or serious complications from their condition. 

If your child is a candidate for surgery, we’ll discuss our innovative approach to the Nuss procedure (the standard of care for surgically treating pectus).

Innovating, Improving the Nuss Procedure for Better Outcomes

The Nuss procedure was invented by Dr. Nuss in 1998 and was instantly elevated as an exciting, innovative approach to treating pectus excavatum – which had previously not had many treatment options.

Over the years, the team at Phoenix Children’s has refined and re-engineered the Nuss procedure to deliver better outcomes with lower risk to children. Traditionally, the Nuss procedure carefully slides a metal bar between the heart and sternum. At Phoenix Children, our team lifts up the sternum before inserting the bar, which lowers the risk of injury to the heart or lungs. This approach is gaining traction around the world, including in countries as far away as Australia because of our team’s dedication to sharing their insights and teaching other pediatric surgeons.

Slipping Rib Surgery

Our team is also on the forefront of caring for children with slipping rib syndrome. Dr. Lisa McMahon is a leader in the field and has published several research papers that have led to innovations and advancements in diagnosing and treating slipping rib surgery.

Watch a slipping rib surgery performed at Phoenix Children’s.

Keeping Children Comfortable, Every Step of the Way

Surgery brings healing, but the post-op road to recovery can be painful. Our specialized pain management team is composed of board-certified pediatric anesthesiologists with expertise in controlling and easing pain for your child while they are in the hospital and as they continue to recover at home.

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