Chest wall deformities

Chest wall deformities occur in one out of 1,000 – 1,500 children, more often boys, and are usually one of two kinds. Pectus carinatum (“pigeon chest”) is the diagnosis when the rib cage bows out like a bird’s chest. In pectus excavatum, the chest is sunken and the chest appears dented. In both cases the heart and lungs typically develop normally, but their function can be impaired.

Caring for children with chest wall deformities

Physical therapy and braces can often help correct mild conditions as the child grows. In some cases, minimally invasive surgery and open surgery may help return the breastbone to its normal position. When surgery is necessary, Herma Heart Center surgeons are some of the most experienced in the country. Learn more.