Results from our pectus patient survey are in
At the London Orthotic Consultancy, we’ve been treating chest wall deformity non-surgically for nearly a decade. We have pioneered bracing as an effective alternative to surgery in the UK. The two main types of congenital chest wall deformity are known as pectus excavatum (when the sternum appears dented inwards) and pectus carinatum (where the sternum protrudes outwards). It’s a complex condition in the way it presents, which can range from mild to severe, mixed type deformity and some people may have an asymmetric deformity too. When the deformity is asymmetrical, it can cause a rotation of the sternum with slight depression on one side and protrusion on the other.
Our non-surgical treatment follows the dynamic remodelling method, which requires a patient to wear a bespoke orthotic brace known as the dynamic chest compressor, based on a 3D scan and custom made to their exact chest measurements. The brace is gradually adjusted to optimise the direction of force and correction possible. A custom exercise programme is also part of the treatment package and compliance to wearing the brace and carrying out the exercises is key to successful treatment.
No two patients will present in the same way and therefore, degrees of correction and the timeframe in which they can be achieved vary.
Most of our pectus patients are adolescent, though we have had several successful adult pectus patients who have responded well to bracing in part because of their commitment to treatment and the flexibility of their chest. Earlier this year we conducted our inaugural pectus patient survey, of which we are pleased to announce the results.
What did we learn about our patients?
The average age of patients when treatment began was 16 years old, with treatment time including part-time brace wear in the latter months and continued commitment to the breathing and exercise regime.
Most pectus patients will not experience any physical complaints, but cosmetic concerns surrounding body image have been associated with low self-esteem and a decreased mental quality of life. Patients who responded to our survey said that their self-esteem score (out of 10) pre-treatment was 4.6, but following treatment, that score went up to 8.5. Consequently, 92% of patients said that treatment had made a ‘major improvement’ or ‘an improvement’ to their social life – incredible news for both patients and clinicians, particularly as this has meant invasive corrective surgery could be avoided.
For patients who experience rib flaring, where their chest deformity causes the ribs to protrude slightly, they will often require a second dynamic chest compressor. We have achieved excellent results with the rib flaring brace alone, which can also be used post-surgery in some cases. Out of those patients who did have a second brace, 94% said it helped with their rib flaring.
How did we do?
Rewardingly, 77% of pectus carinatum patients said they noticed a ‘major improvement’ in their chest shape, with another 15% saying it had ‘improved’. While 85% of patients surveyed were either ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ satisfied with treatment, 92% said that they would recommend treatment to a friend.
What did we learn about our patients?
Excavatum can be slightly more difficult to treat, given that the use of the vacuum bell relies on a negative force to lift the sternum up and out (as opposed to the downward pressure exerted by the carinatum dynamic chest compressor).
Out of those surveyed, 87% of patients surveyed were either ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with treatment, with 75% saying that their chest appearance improved following treatment.
70% of pectus excavatum patients said that they would recommend LOC’s treatment to a friend.
If you would like to book an appointment with a pectus clinician, call our clinic on 020 8974 9989. The initial consultation is FREE with no obligation to proceed.