The London Orthotic Consultancy’s (LOC) treatment programme for pectus excavatum is non-surgical and involves wearing a bespoke brace – Dynamic Chest Compressor – in combination with the use of a device called the 'Vacuum Bell' and a programme of daily exercises. The Vacuum Bell was invented by Eckart Klobe, a graduate in chemical engineering; it has been used with success by a number of German, Austrian and Swiss clinics over the past decade.
Dr Haje pioneered the non-surgical treatment of pectus excavatum and demonstrated that it was possible to improve chest wall shape using his methods. He showed that the chest wall shape could be improved with a combination of bracing and exercise treatment.
When we started this treatment in the UK, we initially had mixed outcomes. The main problem was compliance to the exercise programme. We have now added the Vacuum Bell to the treatment programme. Patients have seen faster improvements, which, in turn, has led to much better compliance to the exercise programme, as patients can see positive outcomes more quickly.
The treatment programme still demands a high level of patient compliance to succeed. We will help and encourage our patients as much as possible, but, ultimately, success will be determined by the patient themselves. Hopefully, they will seek encouragement to 'stick with it' from family and close friends.