Twenty-three hours a day, seven days a week, for three years—that’s how long children would have to wear a brace like this one, to correct a chest malformation. “There are a couple of different kinds of chest wall malformations or deformities. Most people’s chest wall forms where it’s completely flat. Sometimes it happens where it forms where it forms caved in, sometimes it’s pushed out, and sometimes it’s a combination of both,” explained Dr. Amy Stanfill, a pediatric surgeon with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
If the chest is caved in, it can affect the heart and lungs, and ultimately require surgery. But if the chest sticks out, a brace can help to flatten it out. “They were big, they were clunky, there are all these metal pieces and straps sticking out, so they were unsightly especially for a child or teenager to wear under their clothes,” she said.
So when pediatric surgeon Dr. Stanfill discovered a new type of brace, she was eager to try it out. “We talked to the other hospitals that were using it for a long time, they found very good results with it, so we started using the new brace,” she said.
Unlike previous braces, the T-Joe Pectus brace is custom designed for each child. Dr. Stanfill uses a 3D scanner to take images of the child’s chest and then sends the images to the designer. “We recommend bracing as soon as possible because the brace works on the premise of remodeling the human body and remodeling the chest wall. We tell most of the kids eight months to one year, but really they only wear it full time for about six weeks,” explained Joe Porcello, brace manufacturer representative.
Children as young as three years old can start wearing the T-Joe Pectus brace. “Not every place has these braces available, so this is just one more thing that makes our children’s hospital just really special,” said Dr. Stanfill.
They are keeping children comfortable while offering them state of the art quality care.
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