A rubber bell or cup-shaped device that connects to a pump. The device on the front of the chest and use the pump to suck the air out of the device. This creates suction, or a vacuum, that pulls the chest and breastbone forward. Over time, the chest wall and breastbone stay forward on their own and hold a new shape.
A single-center study reported in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery found that use of vacuum bell therapy resulted in an excellent correction in twenty percent of patients, but "is not a substitute for the Nuss procedure which can achieve an excellent result in 90% of patients" Variables predictive of an excellent outcome include age ≤ 11 years, chest wall depth ≤ 1.5 cm, chest wall flexibility, and vacuum bell use over 12 consecutive months.
In Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, the results found that VBT is a safe therapy for treating PE in a non-surgical conservative manner. VBT has been shown to have higher success rates in those who present earlier, have milder forms of PE, symmetric PE, a more compliant chest wall and lack of costal flaring.
- "Chest Wall Disorder: Pectus Excavatum (for Parents) - KidsHealth". kidshealth.org. Retrieved 2019-09-30.
- Obermeyer, Robert J.; Cohen, Nina S.; Kelly, Robert E.; Ann Kuhn, M.; Frantz, Frazier W.; McGuire, Margaret M.; Paulson, James F. (2018-06-01). "Nonoperative management of pectus excavatum with vacuum bell therapy: A single center study". Journal of Pediatric Surgery. 53 (6): 1221–1225. doi:10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2018.02.088. ISSN 0022-3468. PMID 29606411.
- Patel, Akshay J.; Hunt, Ian (2019-08-01). "Is vacuum bell therapy effective in the correction of pectus excavatum?". Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. 29 (2): 287–290. doi:10.1093/icvts/ivz082. PMID 30919892.