Pectus Excavatum Repair: Novel Tool Design

Pectus excavatum is a congenital chest wall deformity occurring in 1:1000 live births. People affected by this disorder present a visible depression of the sternum due to an abnormal growth of the sternum and rib cage. The correction of pectus deformities reduces the incidence of physiological complications, such as cardiopulmonary insufficiency, and at the same time improves body image and psychological impact. A common minimally invasive technique to repair pectus excavatum deformity is to place a convex steel bar beneath the pectus deformity and turn the bar to correct the deflect. The technique and the design of the bar have not been changed in the last 30 years (first intervention by Dr. Donald Nuss, 1987).

Thanks to the current engineering possibilities the procedure could be less invasive, risk of complications can be decreased and a better aesthetic result can be achieved.

The graduation project will focus on the development of a novel technique and the design of a supporting tool for the repair of pectus excavatum, which will improve the current procedure. This project will be done in collaboration with Dr. Pieter Jan van Huijstee from the HAGA hospital (The Hague, The Netherlands).

An internship period at HAGA Hospital is also possible. The student will be able to accompany doctors in the outpatient clinic and meet the patient population before and after the operation for a complete study of the clinical procedure and outcome.

For more information please contact Marta Scali ( and Costanza Culmone ( ).