OBJECTIVES: Vacuum bell and exercise therapy are non-invasive treatments for pectus excavatum (PE). The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of the physiotherapy programme applied in addition to vacuum bell treatment in patients with PE. METHODS: The study included 26 male patients with PE aged 11–18 years. Patients were randomly divided into 2 groups: group 1 received only vacuum bell treatment; group 2 had vacuum bell therapy and physiotherapy. Patient demographic and disease-related characteristics, type of sternal depression, perception of their deformity, postural evaluations, treatment satisfaction and quality of life were evaluated before and 12 weeks after treatment. RESULTS: From external chest circumference measurements related to PE, sternal depression and anthropometric index values showed improvement in both groups (P < 0.05), but better results were observed in group 2 than in group 1 (P < 0.05). Modified percent depth and scores from the T3 region (distance between the most prominent point of the sternum and the spinous process of the vertebra at the same level) showed improvement only in group 2 (P < 0.01), whereas severity of PE, the patient’s perception of his deformity and parental physiological quality-of-life scores improved in both groups (P < 0.05). Posture, satisfaction with treatment and the patients’ physiological quality-of-life scores were significantly better in group 2 (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Due to the additional improvements and greater satisfaction in the group receiving physiotherapy, we think that a proper rehabilitation programme should be applied simultaneously with the vacuum bell treatment in patients with PE.
Clinical trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov : NCT04167865.
Keywords: Pectus excavatum • Vacuum bell • Physiotherapy • Exercise