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Recommendations and physical activity

The information we provide in this section is not intended to replace in any way the advice that a physician or other specialist healthcare professional may give. For this reason, it is advisable to follow the surgeon’s instructions and to ask an expert to get the information you require or the most convenient for you. For more details go to LEGAL NOTICE and PRIVACY POLICY.

PHYSICAL EXERCISE IN A PATIENT AFFECTED BY PECTUS EXCAVATUM

It is always recommended to take physical exercise so that the patient uses a correct posture in order to improve his/her physical condition.

In people affected by Pectus Excavatum it is advisable to stretch and do breathing exercises to increase lung capacity. It is advisable to practice swimming since it makes this easier as well as it strengthens the muscles.

The best option for improvement is undoubtedly stretching. Stretching allows the chest to be expanded so that the cartilage attached to the sternum and the adjacent ribs adapt to condition an upright posture.

Therefore, stretching will be key in correcting, some way, the appearance of the Pectus Excavatum. It should not be forgotten that warm-up exercises will be essential for a good adaptation and to avoid overstretching different parts of the body.
The performance of gymnastic exercises will serve as a complement to provide improvements in terms of breathing, strength and endurance, without there being a correction of the deformity, although an improvement in the muscular and physical part in general.

Exercises for building muscle in the upper trunk area can improve the aesthetic appearance, although care must be taken since sometimes the result may turn out to be the opposite, that the sinking is even more noticeable. We recommend seeking advice from specialists in this area.

POSTOPERATIVE CARE

Cautions:

  • Care shall be taken with personal hygiene to prevent possible infections.
  • The wound cannot be touched or got wet. In addition, the dressing cannot be taken out until the first examination by the surgeon. Deep breathing exercises twice a day are recommended.
  • It is not advisable to stay in a lying position for a long time.
  • It is convenient to sleep on your back and not lying on your side overnight (at least for the first 3 months).
  • Patients shall not bend over uncomfortably, since this can seem to avoid pain but it may be the cause of other subsequent alterations.
  • A good upright position must be mantained, as well as avoiding exposure to risky situations.
  • It is important to avoid crowded environments and violent physical contact.

Rest time after the surgery:

The rest period is about one week after the surgery. Relative rest is recommended during approximately 15 days.

This will consist of resuming the activities of daily life progressively, maintaining good posture, avoiding painful movements and refraining from sports activities.

Do not make sudden torso twists, lift weights or carry backpacks for at least one month.

Activity after the surgery:

  • It should be borne in mind that metallic fixing devices or thoracic implants in general are not capable of withstanding the activity levels or the loads that a normal and healthy chest wall tolerates.
  • In the case of not following the instructions recommended by the surgeon, the Pectus Up can be loosened or moved if it is exposed to supporting weights or loads, or to very intense activities.
  • Failure to follow postoperative instructions could lead to complications. See complications section.
  • The activities allowed will always depend on the evolution of each patient, bearing in mind that the recovery is so much faster the younger the person is.
  • Twisting the torso or lifting weights during the first month must be avoided.
  • Violent physical contact must also be avoided.
  • Patients can go to school, university or regular work from the first examination by the surgeon, if he/she considers it and the patient feels well.
  • Intense sports activity can be resumed between three and six months after the surgery.
  • Refrain from high risk sports or those involving movement of the torso such as golf, tennis, etc., for a period of one year.
  • Any sports activity can performed, as long as high-risk sports or special sports such as golf, swimming (backstroke) or tennis are avoided for a period of six months, since they involve an extensive movement of the torso. It will always depend on the consent of the surgeon.

Activities during the first 15 days:

  • Do gentle breathing exercises on a daily basis, such as breathing in gently until the chest is completely filled; then slowly exhale until the lung is airless.
  • Arms can be moved and raised, adapting to the new situation gradually and continuously, without causing pain.

RECOMMENDATIONS IN CASE OF TRAVEL

  • Patients can go on vacation, as long as they maintain a good position of the torso and avoid exposing themselves to risky situations.
  • Do not lift or hold suitcases, or lift weights, for at least one month.
  • Avoid crowded environments.
  • It is advisable to carry around a document from the surgeon indicating the presence of the metal implant in the chest, as this can be positive in the metal detector.