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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 to practice stretching, which give flexibility to the structures of the thorax and maintain 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.

The performance of gymnastic exercises will serve as a complement to provide improvements in terms of breathing, strength and resistance, without producing a correction of the malformation, although an improvement of the muscular and physical part in general.

Exercises to build muscle in the upper trunk area can be performed and can improve the aesthetic appearance, although caution must be taken since sometimes the result can be the opposite, that the sinking is even more perceived. 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 advisable to sleep on your back and avoid lying on your side during sleep (at least for the first 3 months).
  • A good upright position must be mantained, as well as avoiding exposure to risky situations.
  • Do not adopt abnormal or rigid positions that a priori can avoid pain, but that can have consequences related to the bad position.
  • Relative rest during the first month. Mobility and normal life, maintaining a good trunk position.
  • 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.
  • Avoid doing torso rotations and lifting weights or carrying backpacks for at least the first month.
  • Resume sports activity three months after the surgery, although it will depend on the type of sports practice.
  • Refrain from sports that involve movement of the torso such as golf, swimming (basically backstroke and breaststroke), tennis, weightlifting such as bench press, etc., for a period of 6 months.
  • Avoid all high-risk and contact sports. Contact sports are not recommended for at least the first 6 months after implantation. Severe trauma to the anterior chest can cause severe intrathoracic injury.
  • It is important to avoid crowded environments and violent physical contact.

When in doubt, follow the surgeon’s criteria.

Rest time after the surgery:

The rest period is about one week after the surgery. Relative rest is strongly recommended for approximately one month.

This will consist of resuming the daily activities 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 this first month.

Refrain from any sports activity for 3 months after the surgery, including weight lifting.

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 may loosen, shift or detach if it is exposed to bearing weights, loads or very intense activities, or if the patient suffers traumatic injuries to the thorax.
  • 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.
  • Avoid doing torso rotations and lifting weights during the first month.
  • Avoid violent physical contact.
  • 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.
  • Any sporting activity may be carried out, as long as high-risk sports or sports that involve movements of the torso such as golf, swimming (backstroke and breaststroke) or tennis are avoided for a period of six months, since they involve a wide torso movement. 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.