Eur J Pediatr Surg 2008; 18(6): 407-409
DOI: 10.1055/s-2008-1039176
Original Article

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Absorbable Stabilisation of the Bar in Minimally Invasive Repair of Pectus Excavatum

M. Torre1 , V. Jasonni1 , C. Asquasciati1 , S. Costanzo1 , M. V. Romanini2 , P. Varela3
  • 1Pediatric Surgery, G. Gaslini Institute, Genova, Italy
  • 2Plastic Surgery, IST, University of Genova, Genova, Italy
  • 3Pediatric Surgery, Calvo Mackenna Hospital, Santiago, Chile
Further Information

Publication History

received September 9, 2008

accepted after revision November 5, 2008

Publication Date:
05 December 2008 (online)


Introduction: The minimally invasive repair of pectus excavatum has become the preferred technique in most centres. One of the most important technical points for the final result is stabilisation of the bar, usually obtained by one or two metal stabilisers. Recently, long-term absorbable stabilisers have become available (LactoSorb®, Biomet, Jacksonville, FL, USA). Made of poly-L-lactic and polyglycolic acid, they have been introduced with the aim of reducing local discomfort and making removal of the bar easier. Their efficacy for the stabilisation of the bar has not been proved yet. In this paper we compare the surgical outcome in two groups of patients, one treated with metallic and the other with absorbable stabilisers. Material and Methods: A total of 280 patients underwent pectus excavatum repair using a Nuss technique in two centres. In 194 patients (group 1), operated on since 2001, the metallic stabiliser was used. In 86 patients (group 2), operated on since February 2007, the LactoSorb® stabiliser was preferred. We compared both groups in terms of surgical details, local symptoms or complications, and bar instability rate. Results: The surgical technique for the stabilisation of the bar was identical in both groups, but in group 1 the stabiliser was fastened to the bar with a steel wire, while in group 2 polyglycolic sutures were used. No differences in local discomfort or postoperative pain were observed between the groups. The LactoSorb® stabiliser was palpable for at least 6–9 months, and progressively disappeared at 9–12 months. In group 1 we observed 6 local complications. In particular, two patients presented with infection, one of them associated with a skin lesion and opening over the metallic stabiliser (revision of the wound was performed). Another patient developed a thoracic wall haematoma after suffering a trauma over the metallic stabiliser, 13 months after operation. Three patients developed a seroma. In group 2 we observed 3 subcutaneous swellings at the site of the LactoSorb® stabiliser at 6, 8 and 9 months after the operation. We did not observe either skin lesions or infections. In the group with metallic stabiliser, 3 patients (1.5 %) had bar dislocation, while we did not observe bar instability in the group with LactoSorb® stabiliser. Conclusions: LactoSorb® stabiliser is safe and effective for stabilising the bar in pectus surgery. We suggest its routine use as it appears to be less traumatic and could make bar removal easier.


M. Torre

Pediatric Surgery
G. Gaslini Institute

Largo G. Gaslini 5

16148 Genova