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How are chest wall deformities treated?
For mild cases of either condition, there's really no reason for intervention.
What if my child's case is more severe?
A severe funnel chest can impinge on your child's heart and lungs, but it's important not to overstate the risks.
These children are not at any elevated risk for sudden death.
With severe cases of pigeon breast, the problem is one of form rather than physiology.
Some children with severe conditions are perfectly content with the shape of their chests. But those who suffer psychologically can suffer deeply.
What are our treatment options?
Funnel chest can be surgically repaired. There are two options:
The Welsh - The surgeon makes an incision in your child's chest wall, removes the cartilage wedged between the ribs and breastbone, and then repositions the freed-up breastbone.
The Nuss - The incisions are made on the side, a bar is inserted laterally through the chest and the breastbone is lifted forward.
On the other hand, any asymmetry that's there before the operation will remain to some degree. And there's just as much pain throughout recovery. Also, the bar has to stay in for at least a year, and sometimes two. Surgeons at Children's specialize in both techniques.
As for fixing a severe pigeon breast, doctors at Children's recommend bracing, as pressure over time reforms the chest wall.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”