The aim of this study was a comparison of early and late results in surgical treatment of funnel chest using the Nuss method in patients in various age groups to find the optimal age to perform the corrective procedure.Six hundred eighty patients operated on from June 2002 to October 2012 were included in the retrospective analysis. Patients were divided into 3 different age groups: group A = 156 patients from 7 to 14 years, group B = 328 patients aged 15 to 20 years, and group C = 196 patients older than 20 years of age. The mean follow-up was 33 months.Early non–life-threatening complications developed in 238 (35.0%) patients and frequency increased with age (group A, 24.3%; group B, 37.8%; group C, 38.8%; p = 0.0063). Good and very good corrective effects were achieved in 97.7 % of the entire patient population. Recurrence of the deformity was observed more often in younger patients (group A, 3.2 %) than in the other patients (group B, 1.2%; group C, 1.5%), although the difference between the studied groups was not significant (p = 0.3251).Good cosmetic results obtained with the use of the Nuss operation were not related to the age of the patients. The high incidence of minor complications in older patients seems to be an acceptable cost of a good cosmetic outcome and stable correction. Surgical morbidity is lowest in younger patients; however, the frequency of the recurrence of deformation is higher than in other groups.
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