Upcoming Webinar – Parent Round Table
Meet the Parents Hear their stories and ask questions ...
Thomas & Renee's Journey
Thomas and Renee live in Northern California with their 3 children and 2 dogs. All 3 children have pectus. They noticed pectus in their children during early childhood. When their oldest was in middle school they started seeing specialists to explore options for correction. They tried the vacuum bell with no results. After extensive online research and countless calls and meetings with physicians and assessments with Stanford and UCSF they chose Dr. LoSasso. Surgery was the summer after freshman year for their son (age 15) and the summer after 7th grade for their daughter (age 13). The transformation is dramatic and immediate. In the beginning, recovery was tougher for their daughter but she has resumed sports and it doesn’t seem to bother her, she is nine months post op. Their oldest played competitive football, soccer and lacrosse and following the surgery discovered crew, which he participated in at the varsity level. Their son noticed minor aches and pains along the way likely due to repetitive training that came with crew practice, he is almost 3 years post op. The surgery has been life altering for both kids. Dr. LoSasso’s care and professionalism is incredible and inspires confidence in us and in our kids. We are truly grateful.
– Thomas & Renee
At our first pediatric appointment at 1 week old, we learned that Julian had Pectus Excavatum. I had noticed it straight away but my husband didn’t think much of it because he has it too but it’s quite mild. We were told that it was cosmetic and there was nothing to do for it until he was older. This year, Julian had a huge growth spurt. He is 14 and 6.2 ft tall. The PE looked far more pronounced, his ribs were flaring more and he felt uncomfortable with his body. He noticed that during soccer games, he was out of breath and felt that his heart was pounding. After speaking with a doctor, we decided to get some tests. I was concerned about his heart. We did a simple Google search to look for options for PE and learned about the Nuss procedure. Over the next week, I read everything I could. Dr. LoSasso’s name kept coming up and I was grateful that the Center for Excellence for pectus had a ton of helpful information. We felt fortunate that an experienced doctor was only 30 minutes away and made our first appointment. The more I learned, the more anxious I became… learning about potential Marfan Syndrome and other things not on my radar was a lot to process. But I’ve said many times now that I always feel better leaving Dr. LoSasso’s office since he takes the time to educate his patients.
We moved quickly through appointments because we felt that this strange year gave Julian time to heal at home with little else to do. I’m still in awe at how quickly he healed. I was nervous about him having pain but he was off all meds very quickly. It’s been only 3.5 months and he feels good as new. He finished PT and is itching to get back to soccer!
— Heather B
We noticed Griffin had a bit of an indentation in his chest when he was about 10, and then as he began to grow taller, it was more pronounced by the time he was 14. When he was 12-13, he became self-conscious of taking his shirt off, but he loved to swim though, so just took it off anyway. He hoped no one would notice, but 1 or 2 comments from his friends is all it took for him to start to be pretty bummed out about living with the dent in his chest. It was then that we started to look into the condition, and his pediatrician confirmed the pectus condition but advised that its typically not something that we’d have to be medically concerned about.
We started to search around a bit more when Griffin turned 14, as he was noticeably upset by this condition and found that there were a few surgeries that could help correct the deformity. We were very hesitant at first because all indications were that either way it was major surgery, and it was medically unnecessary, but the Nuss procedure looked pretty innovative. We eventually came upon Dr. Losasso and the Nuss center of Excellence. The videos, pictures and recommendations from other parents were extremely helpful. Since he was located in New Jersey not too far from our home, we decided to visit for a consultation. He confirmed that Griffin would be a good candidate for the Nuss procedure. It didn’t take us long to figure out that Dr. Losasso had the most experience and was one of the most well respected in this field.
Griffin had the surgery on July 15, 2020, and his recovery was as described. We worked very closely with the Physical Therapist to educate them on the procedure and point them to certain resources that Dr. Losasso’s office provided (webinars/ PT scripts, etc.). It’s now 8 months later and Griffin is competing on the high school tennis team and doing plenty of other sporting activities. We opted to have him continue to work with the PT office even after his 3 months were up, and that paid off as well, as he’s bigger and stronger than he ever was.
WHEN DID YOU NOTICE HENRY HAD PECTUS OR STARTED EXPERIENCING SYMPTOMS?
Early on Henry’s pediatrician noted that Henry had a pectus excavatum. We thought nothing of it. When Henry was 13, the summer after 6th grade he was changing his shirt at home in front of us. We all noticed how odd his chest looked. Other than the physical appearance, Henry had no other medical conditions associated with his pectus that we were aware of. That is when we started addressing the issue and talking to doctors. Over the next 3 years we explored the issue thoroughly.
HOW DID YOU FIND DR LOSASSO AND DID YOU LOOK INTO OTHER SURGEONS?
Our pediatrician gave us a few avenues:
- Dr Steven Boas – Children’s Asthma Respiratory and Exercise Specialists
- Pediatric physical therapy
- Dr Marleta Reynolds Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago (Ravitch)
- X (Internal Medicine) – our pediatrician’s colleague (NOT our doctor, just a nice person willing to share his personal experience with us)
- Dr X had a pectus excavatum and has been operated on multiple times as a child and adult
- Dr X gave us two recommendations of surgeons for the Nuss procedure
- Dr Dawn Jaroszewski at Mayo in AZ, and
- Dr LoSasso
WHAT MADE YOU PICK DR LOSASSO VS OTHER SURGEONS?
Once we decided we wanted to use this window of opportunity in Henry’s youth to alleviate this issue, we were deciding between the two surgeons recommended by Dr. X Ultimately, the decision to choose Dr. LoSassowas based based on two factors:
- He has the most experience and specializes in children. The other doctor did mostly adults.
- He was operating as the lead Surgeon at a children’s hospital where
- He is in command, and
- All the nurses are experienced. AND THE NURSES ARE VERY IMPORTANT.
I need to say that this was such a good choice. Almost every person we encountered at the hospital in San Diego raved about Dr. LoSasso and his approach. Not only about what an excellent surgeon he is, but also about what an amazing person he is to be around. I saw myself how tirelessly he worked to accomplish his goal for each child.
Another important point about Dr Losasso is that we never felt pressured to get the surgery. His approach was about making us aware of the options and the associated implications and not necessarily moving forward with the surgery or choosing him.
WHERE IN RECOVERY IS HENRY IN AND HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH SURGERY/THE ENTIRE PROCESS?
This past December, Henry had his bars removed after 3.5 years (delayed due to the pandemic). His recovery was swift. He took no pain medication besides Tylenol and was running again within two weeks. We are grateful.
In reflection, we are glad we had the surgery. After the procedure, it was noted that Henry’s pectus was pressing on his heart which could have driven issues later in life. Additionally, there is a mental health and confidence benefit that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially in teens. The surgery and recovery process are extremely tough and this should considered as part of the decision process. For us, Dr. LoSasso was the best choice and we are extremely grateful he provided Henry’s care.
We first noticed Lucas’s pectus excavatum in 2013, when he was 6 years old. Lucas was not having any medical problems related to his PE, so we decided as long as he was symptom free we would wait until his was around 15 years old to research surgeons.
Lucas has had 2 surgeries in the past on hip which required him to be in spica body casts for months after each surgery. We did not want him to have another surgery unless it was medically necessary, or he wanted to for cosmetic reasons.
My husband Larry coaches Lucas in both baseball and basketball. Last basketball season, he noticed that Luke was trying just as hard in the same activities and exercises as his teammates, but would be out of breath noticeably quicker. Given his condition, we knew that it wasn’t about the type of physical shape he was in. We decided it was time to research surgeons.
Not long after we made this decision, Larry was on a business trip and learned that the son of one of his colleagues had recently had the Nuss Procedure performed by Dr. LoSasso. Larry acquired Dr. LoSasso’s information so that we could start our research, which I thought would be a long process. Once I read about Dr. LoSasso, however, I knew that we did not have to search any further for a surgeon.
Luke’s first appointment with Dr. LoSasso was in August 2020. At that first appointment, we knew that we made the right decision; Dr. LoSasso would be the surgeon to correct Luke’s chest deformity and improve his quality of life. Dr. LoSasso explained everything to us in great detail over a couple of visits so that we were not overwhelmed with all of the information.
Sports are a very big part of Lucas’s life, especially baseball. We planned the surgery for the end of the fall baseball season with the hope that he would be able to play in the spring.
With the help of everyone on Dr. Losasso’s team, the entire process was very organized and extremely easy to navigate. His office staff that we worked with, Georgia and Linda, could not be any nicer or more helpful. Allison, Dr. LoSasso’s PA, was also there every step of the way for us, including post-op FaceTime calls in the immediate days after being discharged home. And of course Dr. LoSasso, his knowledge and expertise are unmeasurable. He also has the best bedside manner that I have ever encountered. From the moment he entered the exam room at Luke’s first appointment, I had such a feeling of comfort. I knew immediately that we could trust him with our son.
Luke’s surgery was December 1, 2020. Every step of our experience at Valley Hospital was wonderful. After 4 days in the hospital, he was discharged home. By the third day home, he was no longer on narcotic pain medication. He started Physical Therapy 4 weeks post operatively.
At his 3 month post op appointment on March 3rd, he was given clearance to lightly toss a ball and swing a bat. As of March 30th, he was cleared to participate in gym and sports without restriction. Since then, Luke’s first swing back on the field was a homerun, which was accompanied by a few other ones in recent practices and scrimmages. In Luke’s words after his first scrimmage, “I feel like I never left!”
We are so grateful for everything Dr. LoSasso and his team have done for Lucas!