Student first to undergo new treatment


Jason Yearout

Mat Besch is holding the suction cup he needs for his experimental treatment of Pectus Excavatum

Madison Bonner, Reporter

How would you feel if you were the first to undergo a treatment that has not been tried in the Midwest ever? A little nervous or hesitant?

Matt Besch, junior, felt this way this past summer. While at his doctor’s trying to fill out a physical form for Boy Scouts, his doctor discovered he had a condition.

Besch has pectus excavatum which is a condition where the sternum sinks into a person’s chest and in most cases is not curable; however, it is treatable.

Most patients go through a surgical treatment that pushes the sternum back to its original position and keeps them in the hospital for a week after the procedure.

Besch, however, agreed to a new treatment at the Overland Park Regional Medical Center which is the only hospital in the Midwest to ever attempt and succeed.

“When we heard that this hospital would do it, my family figured why not try it rather than a surgery that would leave me in the hospital for a week,” Besch said.

Hospitals had waited to try the treatment on a younger patient; however, when the opportunity arose, the Overland Park Regional Medical Center was able to create the vacuum bell needed to help Besch.

The treatment involves a tool called a vacuum bell that is placed on the patient’s chest and worn for about three hours a day to slowly pull the patient’s chest out to its correct place.

Wearing the vacuum bell three to four days a week for three hours a day has been Besch’s routine for about a month and a half; he said it seems to be going well.

Besch said, “It’s nice because I can wear it while I’m at home playing video games and barely notice it’s there.”

Included with the vacuum bell’s accommodating schedule comes no change in diet or school, creating a cure for Besch and a easier schedule for his family, friends and teachers.