Vishal Kumar, Arvind Janardhan Vatkar, Vishnu Baburaj, Elie Najjar, Parth Bansal

September 2022, pp 1 - 15 Review Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-022-07375-9

First Online: 07 September 2022


Thoracoplasty is a procedure which involves rib resection from the costovertebral junction to the apex of the rib hump deformity to address the cosmetic concerns of patients of scoliosis. There is conflicting literature on its effect on pulmonary function. The present meta-analysis was conducted to review and analyze the available literature and ascertain the effect of thoracoplasty on pulmonary function.


Search was conducted according to PRISMA guidelines on three databases. After analysis of all the search results by title, abstracts and full texts—10 studies were identified for inclusion in the review. We included studies which had analyzed preoperative and postoperative pulmonary function tests (PFTs) after thoracoplasty. Pooled estimates were calculated for pulmonary function, and effect of other factors was analyzed by subgroup analysis and meta-regression.


The included studies were published between 1998 and 2019. A total of 385 patients were included in these studies, with a mean age of 15.01 years, with a female preponderance. Apprehension over appearance of rib hump was the most common indication for thoracoplasty. Percent-predicted forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV-1) were significantly decreased on follow-up. Anterior approach to corrective surgery and lower age were found to be associated with worse pulmonary function. Preoperative Cobb’s angle was found to have significant impact on decrease in FEV-1 only, but not on other PFT parameters.


Overall decrease in pulmonary function after thoracoplasty necessitates the need of adequate preoperative pulmonary function to mitigate its effect on patient well-being. Use of a posterior approach for corrective surgery when thoracoplasty is planned might lead to better outcomes. More research is needed to study effect of preoperative Cobb’s angle on pulmonary function.

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