Chest Wall Center
Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Chest Wall Surgery

The Chest Wall Center provides answers to frequently asked questions, including information on scheduling surgery and expected recovery time. 

If you have a question, call us at 513-803-1062.

After my child has his or her initial evaluation with the doctor, how long before we can schedule surgery?

From the time you meet with your surgeon, the process of pre-surgery testing, insurance approval, and scheduling of surgery, can take 3-6 months.

When can I schedule surgery?

Surgery is scheduled after your insurance company approves the procedure. Depending on your insurance carrier and the details of your insurance plan, this piece of the process can take 4-6 weeks. There are some insurance companies that have a longer process because they require additional testing. This is why it is pertinent to begin your process at least 3 months before you want to have surgery. Keep in mind, summer and school breaks are our busiest times of the year, so you will want to start early.

What happens if my insurance denies the surgery?

Each insurance carrier has a process which Cincinnati Children’s must follow to re- submit your child’s claim. This may include additional testing, a peer to peer phone encounter between the insurance carrier and your surgeon, or an appeal to have the original denial overturned. If your insurance denies, we will work with your insurance company to find out what the next steps are.

How long will my child be in pain after surgery?

We work closely with our Pain Team and Holistic Health team to provide exceptional pain management while you are in the hospital and after you return home. While pain is tolerated in different levels by every patient, we have found that most patients are comfortable within 2-3 weeks of having surgery. However, it is essential that our patients diligently practice the pain management techniques taught to them before surgery so they can better manage pain during recovery.

How long is the healing process following surgery?

Your child will be on weight and activity restrictions for 3 months following surgery.  Your child will need your assistance with travel, medications, and activities of daily living for at least the first 2 weeks following discharge from the hospital.

What about school?

Although most individuals want to have surgery during the summer months so school is not missed, it is not uncommon to have surgery during the school year.  Individuals are expected to return to school after 2-3 weeks or their first post-operative follow up appointment.  Restrictions are communicated with the school and accommodations are made due to the weight and activity limitations.

We don’t live in Cincinnati, OH or the local tristate area, so how do we have the pre-surgery testing done near our home?

Multiple patients each year have surgical repair of their pectus excavatum and do not live near Cincinnati Children’s. Testing instructions can be provided for you to have testing done near your home. The results of these tests MUST be sent to Chest Wall Center; this is the responsibility of the family to make sure these results are processed accordingly.  

Test results can be scanned and emailed to or fax to 513-636-7657. Call the Chest Wall Center voicemail at 513-803-1062 to confirm that the test results have been received / reviewed.

US Postal Service Address:

Chest Wall Center
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
3333 Burnet Ave. ML2023
Cincinnati, OH 45229


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