Since the first description in 1998, the minimally invasive repair of pectus excavatum has gained increasing acceptance. The aim of this survey is to report on the experiences of eight European centres with this technique. 172 patients with a mean age of 15.1 (+/- 4.6) years were treated and evaluated, 35.5 % were symptomatic. 45.3 % of the patients had an asymmetric configuration of the chest, 74.3 % had a CT index above 3.25. Mean duration of the operative procedure was 76 minutes. Major complications, including dislocation of the bar or stabiliser, pneumonia, atelectasis, local infection, pleural and pericardial effusion and liver injury occurred in 11.1 % of the patients. Minor complications, such as self-resolving pneumothorax, atelectasis and subcutaneous emphysema were reported in another 8.1 %. Early cosmetic results were excellent or good in 81.5 %. Although the surgical procedure is simple, blood-sparing and short, consideration of some important technical details, proper patient selection and knowledge of the limitations is of vital importance. Long-term results are still lacking.