Conditions We Treat

What is pectus excavatum?

Pectus excavatum, also known as concave chest or funnel chest, is the most common chest wall problem, 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.  It sometimes is noticeable by the time a child is 2 to 3, but often doesn’t appear until kids enter puberty.

Pectus excavatum can range in severity from mild to severe depending on how deep the indentation is, and it does tend to get worse with growth spurts. Some children with pectus excavatum have no symptoms, while others may become short of breath quickly and may have trouble keeping up with their peers during exercise.  Children with a mild pectus excavatum may not require any treatment while kids with more severe types might benefit from surgical or non-surgical treatment options.

Kids with pectus excavatum may also have other issues, like connective tissue, heart, lung and spine problems that need to be considered when treating their pectus.

What is pectus carinatum?

Pectus carinatum, also known as pigeon chest, is when the breastbone and ribs are pushed outward instead of inward.  It occurs in about 1 out of 1,500 children and is more frequent in boys. Sometimes one side of the chest is affected more than the other and the chest may stick out on one side and go in on the other. It may also be noticeable in young children but more often appears during puberty.

Pectus carinatum can also range in severity from mild to severe depending on how far the chest sticks out, and it does tend to get worse with growth spurts. Most children with pectus carinatum have no symptoms, but some may have pain with activities. Children with a mild pectus carinatum may not require any treatment while kids with more severe types might benefit from surgical or non-surgical treatment options, such as bracing.

Kids with pectus carinatum may also have other issues, like connective tissue, heart, lung and spine problems that need to be considered when treating their pectus.

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