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A Tale of Two Brothers: A Life Changing Experience

Brothers Hayden, 19, and Hudson, 16, both had Nuss bar surgery at Shriners Children's New England to correct pectus excavatum, a chest wall deformity in which the breastbone sinks into the chest.

During the minimally invasive surgical procedure, a steel bar is placed behind the breastbone and turned to lift the sternum. The bar is left in place for about three years and reshapes the chest.

Hayden and Hudson’s surgery dates were two years apart; they had the same procedure, performed by the same talented pediatric surgeon and cared for by the same nurturing hospital staff. Hayden spent a week in the hospital recovering after the procedure. Hudson, however, went home the next day. The difference? Cryoablation.

“Recovery from Nuss bar surgery is lengthy and often very painful for patients due to a sudden, dramatic change in their chest,” explained the boys’ pediatric surgeon, David B. Tashjian, M.D. “Cryoablation is a pain-control procedure we’re now using, in which the nerves in the surgical area are temporarily frozen, thereby minimizing the need for pain relieving narcotics afterward.”

“We weren’t using cryoablation when Hayden had his surgery,” said Dr. Tashjian. “Two years later, Hudson was one of the first patients at Shriners Children's New England to undergo surgery with the technology, and the difference was remarkable.”

Limiting the use of narcotics was important to the boys’ mother, Amy. “We lost a relative to opioid addiction a few years ago, so this was really personal to us. It’s a huge problem in the world, especially for teenagers. We were over the moon to hear that Shriners Hospital offered a way to reduce the use.”

“Immediately after his surgery, Hayden felt nauseous and had no appetite due to the pain medications he needed. He also spent the next few months mostly on the couch,” recalled Amy. “Hudson, on the other hand, was up walking around shortly after his surgery and within a few days, he was making his own breakfast.”

“Both Hayden and Hudson received amazing care at Shriners,” said Amy. “But the addition of cryoablation was life changing.”

Both Hayden and Hudson received amazing care at Shriners. But the addition of cryoablation was life changing.
Amy, New England

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