Scoliosis Progression After the Nuss Procedure for Pectus Excavatum: A Case Report

Lorena V. Floccari, Daniel J. Sucato, Brandon A. Ramo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: Pectus excavatum and scoliosis are associated conditions with a high rate of coincidence. However, there are no reports to guide surgeons on the management of adolescents with moderate scoliosis and pectus excavatum, because there are conflicting conclusions in the literature regarding how the Nuss procedure with substernal bar affects scoliosis. Cases: In 2017, we encountered two patients with moderate scoliosis treated with a spinal orthosis. After undergoing the Nuss procedure for pectus excavatum, their scoliosis acutely progressed into surgical magnitude requiring posterior instrumented spinal fusion. The first patient progressed 26° despite the pre-Nuss radiographs showing him to be Risser 4/5, while the second patient also progressed 26° from the Nuss procedure. Both patients acknowledged noncompliance with brace wear because of discomfort after the Nuss procedure. However, their progression rate still doubles the rate of reported rapid accelerators, indicating that a significant component of curve progression is directly attributed to forces on the spine from the corrective maneuver with substernal bar. Conclusion: The purpose of this case report is to describe the features of these two patients to help with clinical decision-making in patients with moderate scoliosis (curves >25°) who are contemplating the Nuss procedure for correction of pectus excavatum. We caution patients and providers that spinal deformity could worsen with surgical intervention of the pectus excavatum via the Nuss procedure and necessitate scoliosis surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1003-1009
Number of pages7
JournalSpine deformity
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Nuss procedure
  • Pectus excavatum
  • Scoliosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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