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Pectus Carinatum 

What Is Pectus Carinatum?

Pectus Carinatum, which is referred to as “pigeon chest” is one of the most common chest wall deformities. It usually is first noticed around the child’s 11th birthday. Pectus Carinatum occurs when a patient’s chest is pushed outward. This outward appearance is caused by the sternum (breastbone) being pushed out by the ribs or because the sternum itself is angled outward along the midline. This occurs due to the excessive growth and structural abnormalities of the cartilage of the breastbone and/or ribs.


This condition seems to appear more often in boys and usually develops later for them than it does for young girls. The severity of this abnormality generally worsens during growth spurts in late childhood and adolescence. The deformity may be very minor in earlyu childhood and may suddenly become severe during puberty and adolescence.


What causes Pectus Carinatum?

The cause is unknown, however, it may be genetically linked considering it recurs in families. Pectus Carinatum also tends to occur with growth disturbance diseases, such as Marfan syndrome and Ehler-danlos syndrome. The deformity of the sternum is caused by the abnormal growth of the ribs and breastbone cartilage.


How Do You Treat Pectus Carinatum?

There are two forms of treatment of Pectus Carinatum – surgery or external bracing. In severe cases, surgery is used to restore normal chest contour. In mild to moderate cases, a brace pushing directly on the sternum can correct the condition.


How Do I Decide Which Method, Surgical versus Non-Surgical, Is Best for My Child?

It all begins with an evaluation by your child’s physician who will then refer you to a physician with significant expertise in the management of congenital chest wall malformation. The surgeon will evaluate your child and discuss the treatment options. Together you will decide which treatment is best suited for you and your child.

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