Recommendations and physical activity
It is always advisable to practice exercise so that the patient adopts a correct posture and improves his/her physical condition.
In people affected by Pectus Excavatum it is advisable to perform stretching and breathing exercises to increase lung capacity. It is advisable to practice swimming as it facilitates this aspect and also strengthens the muscles.
The best option for improving is to practice stretching, as it enables flexibility in the structures of the chest and helps maintaining an upright posture. It should not be forgotten that before practicing any physical exercise, warm-up exercises are essential for a good adaptation of the body and to avoid injuries.
Performing gymnastic exercises will serve as a complement in order to improve in terms of breathing, strength and resistance, without correcting the malformation. However, it does improve the muscular and physical part in general.
Exercises to muscle the upper trunk area can be performed and can improve the appearance aesthetically, although care must be taken since sometimes the result can be the opposite, as the sinking is perceived even more. We recommend seeking advice from specialists in this subject.
Assess psychological affectation of the patient with pectus excavatum
The family will play a fundamental role in knowing if there is acceptance or rejection of the pathology by the child. It is important to assess whether he/she needs psychological support.
Being affected by Pectus Excavatum can affect the child’s social relationships and the attention and support provided to them will be essential to have a life with full social and personal relationships.
It is essential that the family provides this support, but in some cases the help of a health professional or psychologist is also necessary.
We have already discussed the importance of psychological support in patients with Pectus Excavatum. We must be aware of this, especially in the case of adolescent or pediatric patients and, if necessary, look for a professional who can help them.
In a study carried out by the University of Navarre, where 13 articles were evaluated in relation to the psychosocial problems that these patients may present, the following results were extracted:
- Psychological symptoms in Pectus Excavatum: Practically all patients with Pectus Excavatum (95%) suffer from some type of psychosocial symptom.
- Patients with Pectus Excavatum who suffer from a psychosocial symptom have a lower quality of life than healthy young people of the same age.
- Quality of life improves significantly in more than 80% of patients after surgery.
- These results were evident in both pediatric and adult patients
- The type of surgery does not matter in order to improve the quality of life.
The conclusions of this study are:
– The only patients who undergo surgery are those with physical symptoms, although the main motivation that leads these patients to undergo surgery is psychological symptoms.
– Psychological problems are highly frequent and greatly affect the quality of life, drastically improving with reconstructive surgery.
– It would be necessary to consider the incorporation of new surgical indication criteria for Pectus Excavatum where a psychiatric/psychological assessment of the patient is taken into account as a direct indication.
– The goal of the treatment should change from “functional restoration” to “complete physical and mental restoration” of the patient.
Source: Study on psychosocial problems in Pectus Excavatum. University of Navarre.
- You can travel for vacation, as long as you maintain a good position of the trunk and avoid exposing yourself to risky situations.
- Do not lift or hold suitcases, or lift weights, for at least the first month.
- Avoid crowded environments.
- It is advisable to carry with you a document from your surgeon indicating the presence of the metallic implant in the chest, as this may give a positive result in the metal detector.