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About Leonard Procedure

What is Leonard Procedure?

All about Leonard Procedure

Pectus excavatum is one of the most common types of chest wall deformities observed in children. The deformity is diagnosed shortly after birth but in some cases it is not visible until the child gets older. Pectus excavatum surgery is required to correct the deformity to improve the physical appearance, posture, and breathing of the person diagnosed with this condition. There are both invasive and non-invasive techniques available to correct Pectus Excavatum. Leonard procedure is one of the popularly used methods for pectus excavatum repair.

What is Leonard procedure?

Leonard procedure was developed by Minneapolis thoracic and surgeon, Dr. Alfred Leonard. The technique makes use of a bilateral transverse curvilinear incision beneath the breast. The lower 4-5 cartilages are removed and the perichondrium which is the covering of the cartilages is left in place. 

Then a wedge is taken out of the sternum, and the sternum is re-shaped accordingly to correct the defect. A sheathed wire is placed behind the sternum. It is bought out through the muscles and skin and is later attached to a modified brace for 6-12 weeks, depending on the severity of the condition though. The cartilages are allowed to reform in the new position during that time, correcting the defect completely. The wedge that was being taken out of the sternum is sutured appropriately.

The patients are made to stay in the hospital for 4-5 days. Special attention is paid to post-operative pain management. The patients are encouraged to breathe deeply, and are provided assistance with movement to prevent dislodging the bar. Patients are advised not to indulge in vigorous and strenuous activities for several months after the surgery. However, they are allowed to return to school in 2-3 weeks.

The support bar that was inserted during the procedure is removed under general anaesthesia after 2-4 years. The procedure is performed on outpatient basis and patients are able to leave the hospital within a few hours after the support bar removal.

In almost all instances, this procedure is able to restore the ability of patients to participate in all activities, including strenuous activities and athletics. The treatment also results in improvement in the patient’s self-image and confidence.


Who is the best candidate?

Children who are diagnosed with pectus excavatum are ideal candidates for this treatment method. The technique is however easier to perform in preadolescent children since the recovery is faster. The procedure is rarely performed on children under the age of eight. Adults over the age of 21 who have undergone this surgery have also enjoyed equally good results. Before performing Leonard procedure, the surgeon diagnoses pectus excavatum after observing a child when he inhales, exhales, and rests. The surgeon also calculates the depth of the patient’s chest from front to back to determine whether the diameter is shorter than average. The surgeon also evaluates the patient’s lung capacity to reveal mismatched lungs.

Side effects:

Every surgery has some risks. The risks that are associated with this particular pectus excavatum repair include,

  • Adverse reactions to anaesthesia and medications
  • Breathing problems
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Lung collapse
  • Recurrence of the funnel chest
  • Bar displacement
The above risks and complications can be reduced to a large extent if the procedure is performed by a trained, qualified, and experienced surgeon specialising in providing pectus excavatum repair treatment.

What is the Cost?

The cost of this procedure may vary, depending on the experience and skill of the surgeon and the location. Usually, this procedure costs between $3500 and $15000. To get the exact cost, talk to your surgeon in Australia.

Possible Alternatives: