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Definition

What is pectus excavatum?

Pectus excavatum is a condition in which a person’s breastbone is sunken into his or her chest. In severe cases, pectus excavatum can look as if the center of the chest has been scooped out, leaving a deep dent.

How common is pectus excavatum?

Pectus excavatum affects about one in 1,000 children and is four times as common in boys as in girls. Pectus excavatum is more common in boys than in girls. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of pectus excavatum?

The common symptoms of pectus excavatum is a slight indentation in the chests. In some people, the depth of the indentation worsens in early adolescence and can continue to worsen into adulthood.

In severe cases of pectus excavatum, the breastbone may compress the lungs and heart. Signs and symptoms may include:

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for the situation.

Causes

What causes pectus excavatum?

While the exact cause of pectus excavatum is unknown, it may be an inherited condition because it sometimes runs in families.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for pectus excavatum?

Pectus excavatum is more common in boys than in girls. It also occurs more often in people who also have:

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is pectus excavatum diagnosed?

A variety of tests are used to diagnose pectus excavatum, which will include breathing tests to show the effect of the ribcage problem on your child’s breathing and scans to give detailed measurements of his or her ribcage.

How is pectus excavatum treated?

If the ribcage problems are not causing any physical or psychological problems, a child may not need any treatment. When ribcage problems are affecting a child’s lung function or are causing serious psychological problems, an operation to correct the problem might be suggested.

This surgery is usually suggested when a child’s ribcage problem is affecting his or her breathing or lung function. It may also be suggested if it is causing severe psychological problems.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage pectus excavatum?

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor for best solutions.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: October 16, 2017 | Last Modified: October 16, 2017

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