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Publication Title

Korean Journal for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery






Background: The nonsurgical treatment of chest wall deformity by a vacuum bell or external brace is gradual, with correction taking place over months. Monitoring the progress of nonsurgical treatment of chest wall deformity has relied on the ancient methods of measuring the depth of the excavatum and the protrusion of the carinatum. Patients, who are often adolescent, may become discouraged and abandon treatment. Methods: Optical scanning was utilized before and after the intervention to assess the effectiveness of treatment. The device measured the change in chest shape at each visit. In this pilot study, patients were included if they were willing to undergo scanning before and after treatment. Both surgical and nonsurgical treatment results were assessed. Results: Scanning was successful in 7 patients. Optical scanning allowed a visually clear, precise assessment of treatment, whether by operation, vacuum bell (for pectus excavatum), or external compression brace (for pectus carinatum). Millimeter-scale differences were identified and presented graphically to patients and families. Conclusion: Optical scanning with the digital subtraction of images obtained months apart allows a comparison of chest shape before and after treatment. For nonsurgical, gradual methods, this allows the patient to more easily appreciate progress. We speculate that this will increase adherence to these methods in adolescent patients.


This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Original Publication Citation

Kelly, R. E., Jr., Obermeyer, R. J., Kuhn, M. A., Frantz, F. W., Obeid, M. F., Kidane, N., & McKenzie, F. D. (2018). Use of an optical scanning device to monitor the progress of noninvasive treatments for chest wall deformity: A pilot study. Korean Journal for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 51(6), 390-394. doi:10.5090/kjtcs.2018.51.6.390


0000-0002-8705-3855 (Obeid), 0000-0002-0160-5605 (McKenzie)