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BACKGROUND: The Nuss procedure is a minimally invasive technique for correcting pectus excavatum. We hypothesized that three-dimensional (3D) simulation may shorten operation time and provide better morphologic outcome. This study aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of the 3D model-assisted Nuss procedure and to compare its potential benefits with those of the traditional Nuss procedure. METHODS: We simulated the targeted curvature, length, and planned intercostal space of a metallic bar, based on the preoperative chest computed tomographic images. After the use of a 3D printing technique, a plastic template bar was produced and sterilized. The metallic bar was bent and placed at the planned intercostal space accordingly. The patients' characteristics, total number of pectus bar placement, total operation time, and improvement percentage of Haller indices were compared with patients who underwent the traditional Nuss procedure. RESULTS: A total of 419 patients underwent the Nuss procedure from January 2010 to July 2017 in our hospital, and 357 patients were eligible and enrolled for the following analysis. Fifteen patients underwent 3D simulation. After performing propensity-score matching analysis, the 3D printing group had a shorter operative time (60.36 versus 74.34 minutes, p < 0.001), fewer metallic bar placements (1.00 versus 1.36 bars, p < 0.001), and better improvement percentages in the Haller indices (20.34% versus 10.06%, p < 0.001) compared with the traditional Nuss procedure. CONCLUSIONS: In this preliminary study, 3D-printed model-assisted Nuss procedure may provide benefits of shorter operative time, fewer metallic bar insertions, and comparable morphologic outcome by preoperative simulation.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Thorac Surg

Publication Date





1089 - 1096


Adolescent, Adult, Anthropometry, Case-Control Studies, Child, Feasibility Studies, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Funnel Chest, Humans, Internal Fixators, Male, Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures, Operative Time, Preoperative Care, Printing, Three-Dimensional, Reconstructive Surgical Procedures, Retrospective Studies, Severity of Illness Index, Taiwan, Tomography, X-Ray Computed, Treatment Outcome, Young Adult