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Surgeons 28631
Great result, quick recovery
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I had surgery 4.5 weeks ago at age 38. You can tell from my age I‘ve come a long way: after developing p.e. at age 13 I initially wanted to get surgery at age 17 but was of course discouraged by the Ravitch procedure that I was offered. Since I didn‘t have any issues (I remained physically active and even studied sports science with a daily exercise routine of about 4-8 hours in my 20s) I decided against surgery. Time went by and even though I had never been at peace with the way I looked I stopped thinking about my chest that much.
At age 33/34 I remember clearly I had my first moment of dizziness during workout while doing some reverse butterflies – I guess because of the pressure that particular exercise puts on the chest. My exercise tolerance started declining, sometimes I would be feeling pretty much okay, sometimes I had to stop after 10 minutes. When jogging I would feel strong fatigue after finishing and quite often feel dizziness during the days I had gone running before. Of course, these experiences also left a mental mark, especially when knowing the heart visually beats against the sternum and is somewhat restricted in its activity. My self-confidence decreased and I went through a period of 1-2 years where I wouldn‘t really do any sports. At age 36 I started again and took things a little more easy. That pretty much worked, but I was nowhere near the point I had been a couple years ago. Also, riding a bike turned out to stress my body most, with my heart beating the crap out of me during the first 500 meters and fits of dizziness whenever I stopped (e.g. at traffic lights).
I finally decided to do something about my state of health, went to see Prof. Schaarschmidt and agreed on the surgery to be executed a couple of months later (due to work schedule). I thought it was really helpful to have somebody encourage me to undergo the procedure, especially because I was promised the operation would still be okay at my age while I was already entering an age range that would make things much more difficult in the future.
About the actual procedure: I received one bar on a Wednesday morning. Yes, by now you probably know the first days are an adventure of its own. After surgery, the drugs didn‘t really do what they were suppossed to and I felt nauseous and rather weak all the time. The peridural didn‘t do anything for me (apart from numbing my legs all the way down to the ankle) so all I could do was wait, do my breathing exercises and start walking. I was able to get up on day 1 after the operation, on day 2 I managed to walk approximately 200m. I did my breathing exercises almost every hour (as recommended by Prof. Schaarschmidt and the staff) and quickly made progress. Look at your recovery as a marathon you really want to win – it‘ll help you summon the energy it takes to make your body follow your will again.
By day 6 I could already walk around quite normally and took walks outside of about 45 minutes (afterwards I crashed my bed for 10-15 minutes). On day 8 I was allowed to go back home (I felt really good and - apart from receiving some painkillers from time to time - there wasn‘t really any use in staying). Of course that was only possible because I live in the proximity of the hospital. On day 12 I returned to have my stitches removed.
By day 9 I rode my bicycle again, I think around day 14 I went jogging for the first time. By day 15 I started going to the gym to do some workout on ergometers (e.g. the rowing machine) and, I can assure you, each time I went I made progress – same will happen to you!
Today, 4.5 weeks after surgery, I still wake up once or twice during the night. This is not due to pain but rather to feeling uncomfortable - the pressure on the chest grows throughout the night. However, I barely feel the bar anymore. I stopped taking the minor doses of ibuprofen I was still on (2x200mg/ day) about 1.5 weeks ago. It‘s great!
What did the surgery do for me? Apart from the obvious bliss of looking normal I have no problems with dizziness anymore and I just feel more energetic. Yesterday I had an extended bike trip of about 2 hours at a fairly high speed and felt like I could be going longer.
Prof. Schaarschmidt did an awesome job, for which I would like to cordially thank him! His experience and precision during the procedure most certainly allowed my quick recovery. All nurses also were a great help in getting to feel better and were also quite experienced with the Nuss. I never felt like my questions were left unanswered.
It was a life-changing decision and if you feel like your p.e. is giving you a hard time I would like to encourage you to think about getting the help that is available to you.

Your Pectus Information

Pectus Excavatum
Pre-Surgery Haller Index
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