Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to prepare for PA school (while shopping) & Pectus Repair Surgery

Shopping in Toronto
I recently found myself in Toronto for the weekend where I was able to squeeze in some preparation for physician assistant school while window shopping at Holt Renfrow department store.

My friend here at left was in the men's department and I couldn't resist a photo opp with him.

"You have a screw in your sternum."
Yes, my skeletal buddy here seems to have a screw in his sternum.

(I can't wait to get into anatomy lab this fall at Daemen College's physician assistant program!)

Pectus Carinatum Repair Surgery:
My son's sternal repair

Speaking of sternums (or is it "sterni"?), my son's sternum and ribs were reconstructed two years ago at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia by a very talented and diligent team of surgeons who corrected his pectus carinatum and pectus excavatum defect (sunken chest syndrome).

Pectus excavatum is a relatively common skeletal (chest wall) defect of the sternum and associated ribs.  Owen's defect was a combination pectus carinatum (aka pigeon-like rib cage) and pectus excavatum defect and was a particular challenge for surgical repair.
Pectus Carinatum
"Pectus carinatum is a deformity of the chest wall in which the sternum and rib cartilage protrude outward, something like the breast of a bird. It is much less common than other chest wall deformities, occurs four times more often in boys than in girls and typically becomes more pronounced during the early growth spurt of adolescenc." - from CHKD web site.
Click image to view slideshow

Dr. Kelly and the surgeons at CHKD's Pectus Clinic resected eight ribs and broke his sternum to lift it up into proper position then placed a ten inch steel bar to brace the sternum in a grueling eight hour surgery.
(And I say grueling as in Dr. Kelly admitted that this was a particularly difficult case and he looked exhausted and was wet with sweat when he emerged from the OR and spoke with us in the waiting room after eight hours of a difficult surgery - usual time is 3-4 hours.  Dr. Kelly had difficulty getting my son's sternum to conform to the proper angle and ultimately had to settle for a degree of correction that was not as much as hoped for.  And he had called other surgical partners into the OR and had another on video consult.  Owen was a tough case. )

Owen was not a candidate for the less invasive Nuss bar procedure you see here in this video.  He had an open chest surgery called a modified Ravitch procedure.

Click image to see Dr. Kelly performing a pectus carinatum repair.

Go to this link to see Dr. Kelly explaining the pectus carinatum surgery.

And by the way, Dr. Robert Kelly is a ROCK STAR!

By the way, Dr. Kelly's physician assistant cared for Owen post-operatively.  And that steel bar is still in place and will have to be removed in a second surgery.

Ronald McDonald

My son came through it like a champ.  And I will be a supporter of the Ronald McDonald House from now on--even though I don't eat the McDonald's restaurant offerings unless under dire duress.  We made multiple trips to Norfolk from Louisiana that year and the folks at the Ronald McDonald House in Norfolk were wonderful to us.  Thank you, Ronald!

This picture below is one of my favorite of Owen, Ronald and me in Norfolk, VA.

I never pass up an opportunity to pose for a pic whenever I see a Ronald McDonald figure.  I have a complete travelogue of photos of me with various Ronald McDonald figures all over the U.S.
Me, Ronald and Owen

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