Incidence and severity of surgical complications after pectus excavatum bar removal

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OBJECTIVES: Pectus bar removal is the final step of minimally invasive repair of pectus excavatum. Complication rates related to bar removal have been reported in 2-15% of patients and severe, near-fatal and fatal complications have been reported. No systematic assessment of complication severity or risk factors associated with bar removal has been reported in large study populations. The aim of this paper is to investigate the safety of the bar removal procedure with regard to complication rates and severities as well as assessment of risk factors.

METHODS: Between 2003 and 2019, 1574 patients underwent the bar removal procedure. Medical records were assessed retrospectively and complications registered. Complications were categorized in infections, bleedings and other complications. The severity of the surgical complications was systematically classified using the validated Clavien-Dindo classification. Furthermore, risk factors associated with complications were assessed.

RESULTS: The overall complication rate was 4.1% (Clavien-Dindo classification I-IV), mainly consisting of bleedings (1.3%) and infections (1.5%). Five cases of severe bleedings were registered (0.3%, Clavien-Dindo classification IV). Risk factors associated with complications during bar removal were greater age and removal of more than one bar.

CONCLUSIONS: The bar removal procedure is a safe and effective procedure. Both age and number of bars inserted should be considered prior to surgical correction of pectus excavatum as these factors predict complications related to bar removal.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInteractive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
Pages (from-to)237-241
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery. All rights reserved.

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