Oct 23, 2023
Pectus excavatum causes the breastbone to protrude into the chest of the affected individual. A large depression in the chest that appears to have the center removed can be left by severe cases of pectus excavatum.
As the adolescent development spurt approaches, pectus excavatum normally worsens, even though the sunken breastbone is often seen shortly after birth.
Cardiovascular and pulmonary function may be compromised in extreme pectus excavatum cases. Children with milder forms of pectus excavatum, however, could feel self-conscious about their appearance. Through surgery, the deformity can be fixed.
Although the precise cause of pectus excavatum is uncertain, given that it occasionally runs in families, it may be a genetic disorder.
For most people, pectus excavatum simply manifests as a little indentation in the chest. In some people, beginning in early adolescence, the indentation's depth may continue to worsen throughout maturity.
When pectus excavatum is severe, the breastbone may compress the heart and lungs. Among the signs and symptoms are:
Boys are more likely than girls to get pectus excavatum. Additionally, it happens more frequently in those who also have:
Usually, pectus excavatum can be diagnosed with a simple chest examination. Your doctor may suggest a variety of tests to check for associated lung and heart conditions. These examinations could include:
Surgery is a treatment option for pectus excavatum, though it is often reserved for those with moderate to severe symptoms. For people with mild signs and symptoms, physical therapy could be helpful. Some exercises can improve posture and the extent of chest expansion.
If you're not experiencing any discomfort from the depression in your breastbone but you don't like the way it appears, you may consider having a silicone insert, which resembles a breast implant, inserted under your skin to fill up that area.
The names of the two surgeons who developed the most widely used surgical methods for treating pectus excavatum are as follows:
Most individuals who undergo surgery to repair pectus excavatum are satisfied with how their chests look presently, regardless of the method of treatment used. Pectus excavatum repair has proven beneficial for many individuals, even though most of these treatments are performed during the puberty growth spurt.
There are many options available for pain treatment following surgery to promote healing. By temporarily freezing the nerves, cryoablation can promote healing and reduce postoperative pain for four to six weeks after surgery.
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Severe forms of pectus excavatum can cause the heart to tilt to one side or compress the lungs and heart. Problems with one's self-image can arise from even minor cases of pectus excavatum.
If the breastbone indentation is deep, the lungs' ability to expand may be restricted. The heart may also be squeezed by the compression, which would push it against the left side of the chest and reduce its ability to pump blood efficiently. Some symptoms that may arise from this include exercise intolerance, dyspnea, an elevated heart rate, and chest tightness or pain.
Patients with pectus excavatum usually have forward-leaning shoulders and prominent ribs. Because they are self-conscious about their appearance, many people stay away from activities like swimming where their chest is visible. Additionally, they would avoid wearing anything that might make it more difficult to hide the indentation in their chest.
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