LANE COUNTY, Ore. — Two twin brothers recently received a unique surgery on a chest wall deformity at PeaceHealth at Riverbend.
The goal is to prevent any heart trouble later in life
"I had an indent in my chest, and they pretty much put a bar in and it popped my chest out,” Jack Mornarich said.
It's called pectus excavatum. According to pediatric surgeon Dr. Kim Ruscher, it's a chest deformity where the sternum or breast bone is sunken inward. And it's something that two fraternal twin brothers, Jack and Clay Mornarich had surgery for at PeaceHealth.
“You don't have to have it, but I heard in the long run, it's good,” Jack said. “It can prevent heart problems and stuff when you get older."
"And what we find is that patients sometimes have a mild form where it's just a little bit of a depression - might not even be noticeable with weightlifting or by wearing the right clothes over it,” Dr. Ruscher said. “However, if the depression becomes very deep, which typically happens in kids, then it can compress the heart."
Dr. rRscher says during the surgery, using a camera, a 15-inch stainless steel bar is inserted from right to left behind the breast bone to lift up the sternum, a process that takes about two hours. The nerves are frozen temporarily during the surgery to help with the pain.
After the bar is inserted, it won't be removed until a few years later.
The doctor says the problem is about 4 to 5 times more in common in boys.
Jack and cCay's parents are just glad they got the surgery done.
"Like it would be something beneficial in the long run because nobody really knows what the long term effects of having a compressed heart and less lung capacity is,” said Carma Mornarich.
The doctor says if you're concerned your child might have a chest wall deformity, call your local pediatrician for more information.