Conditions We Treat

What is pectus excavatum?

Pectus excavatum, also known as concave chest or funnel chest, is the most common chest wall deformity, occurring in about 1 out of 300 children. The breastbone, or sternum, and some of the ribs grow abnormally, causing a depression in the middle of the chest. The condition is not always noticeable at birth, but is often apparent by the time a child is 2 to 3. In some cases, the condition only appears as your child grows.

The level of severity ranges from mild to severe, but the condition does tend to get worse during growth spurts. Some children with pectus excavatum have no symptoms, while others may have symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath, or inability to keep up with others.  While many children with mild pectus excavatum don’t require any treatment at all, others benefit from surgical or non-surgical treatment options.

Also, approximately 15 percent of children who have pectus excavatum end up developing a condition called scoliosis (curvature of the spine).

What is a pectus carinatum?

Pectus carinatum, also known as pigeon chest, is a deformity of the chest wall in which the breastbone and ribs are pushed outward. The condition occurs in about 1 out of 1,500 children and more frequently in boys. It’s often asymmetric, with one side of the chest affected more than the other. Some children have pectus carinatum on one side of the chest and an indentation called pectus excavatum on the other side of the chest.

Pectus carinatum often worsens as a child grows, particularly when the child reaches puberty.

What other chest wall problems do we treat?

Less common issues we treat include:

Poland syndrome – where part of the chest and shoulder area do not develop fully
Sternal cleft – where the breast-bone is not fully fused into one piece
Slipping rib syndrome – where the lower ribs ‘slip’ or move in a way that causes pain