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Pediatric Heart Center

Pediatric Heart Center

Pectus Correction Program

Pectus Excavatum


What is pectus excavatum?

Pectus excavatum is Latin for hollowed chest. It is a very common congenital deformity of the chest wall, where several ribs and the sternum grow abnormally. This commonaly gives the a caved-in or sunken appearance of the chest. It can either be present at birth or not develop until puberty.

What is the cause of pectus excavatum?

The disorder is assumed to be caused by overgrowth of the costal cartilage which connects the ribs to the sternum (center of the chest, or breastbone). As a child with the disorder grows through adolescence, the costal cartilage overgrowth restricts the expansion of the ribs and pushes the sternum inward. The disorder is estimated to occur in one of every 500 to 1000 children; it occurs in males three times as frequently as in females. Pectus excavatum can occur repeatedly in families, but most of the time it occurs randomly. At present, the cause is unknown. MORE INFO



Pectus Carinatum

What is pectus carintum?

Pectus carinatum is also a very common deformity of the chest wall, where the ribs and the sternum grow abnormally. This commonaly gives the a caved-out or pigeon chest appearance of the chest. It can either be present at birth or not develop until puberty. It is the opposite of pectus escavatum.

What is the cause of pectus carintum?

Pectus carinatum is an overgrowth of cartilage causing the sternum to protrude forward. It occurs in 3 different ways. It is often evident in newborns as a rounded chest and as they reach 2 or 3 years old the sternum begins to grow outwardly. The most common occurrence for pectus carinatum seems to be in the 11-14 year old pubertal male undergoing a growth spurt. Some parents report that their child's pectus seemingly popped up 'overnight'. It may occur as a solitary congenital abnormality or in association with other genetic disorders or syndromes : Marfan syndrome, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Morquio syndrome, Noonan syndrome, Trisomy 18, Trisomy 21, homocystinuria, osteogenesis imperfecta, multiple lentigines syndrome, Sly syndrome and Scoliosis.