High rates of metal allergy amongst Nuss procedure patients dictate broader pre-operative testing



      A previous study from our group estimated that as few as 2.2% of pectus excavatum patients suffered from allergy to the implanted metal bar. We sought to assess recent changes in incidence of metal allergy and identify the benefit of metal allergy testing prior to surgery.


      A retrospective review was performed of all consenting patients undergoing pectus repair during the six years between 9/2004 and 12/2010 at our institution. Incidence was based on clinical symptoms and/or T.R.U.E.® patch testing. Demographic data, history of atopy and history of metal allergy were collected. Type and number of bars used, suture site infection, skin rash and wound infection rates were reviewed.


      Forty one of 639 patients (6.4%) had clinical or patch test evidence of metal allergy. Family history of metal allergy and pre-operative history of metal sensitivity were found to be statistically significant correlates.


      The rate of metal allergy in the pectus excavatum population may be higher than previously reported. Patient or family history of metal allergy or metal sensitization may indicate increased risk. Metal allergy testing should be performed before Nuss procedure.

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