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Health Information For Parents
Pectus excavatum is a condition in which the breastbone (sternum) and several ribs are caved in. This happens because these ribs and the breastbone grow abnormally in an inward direction.
Health care providers sometimes suggest that kids use a vacuum bell to help correct pectus excavatum without surgery.
A vacuum bell is a rubber bell- or cup-shaped device that connects to a pump. You place the device on the front of the chest and use the pump to suck the air out of the device. This creates suction, or a vacuum, that pulls the chest and breastbone forward. Over time, the chest wall and breastbone stay forward on their own and hold a new shape.
Your child’s health care provider will go over the instructions with you about how to use the vacuum bell at home.
To use the vacuum bell:
If your child is under 10 years old, you should help him or use the vacuum bell. Most older kids can use the vacuum bell on their own.
At first, the vacuum bell should be worn about 30 minutes, twice a day. Over the following 4–6 weeks, you can slowly increase the amount of time your child wears it, up to about 2 hours twice a day (or as recommended by your health care provider).
Most kids need to use the vacuum bell for a year or more.
Follow your health care provider’s recommendations for how long and how often your child should wear the vacuum bell. This way your child can get the best results.
Usually, the vacuum bell causes no problems except a little redness or bruising where it attaches to the chest. This usually goes away on its own after a few hours. If your health care provider recommends it, you can reduce the amount of suction to lessen the chance of redness or bruising.
Less commonly, someone can have back pain or a burning or prickly feeling in the arms while wearing the vacuum bell. If this happens, take off the vacuum bell and try a lower pressure in a few hours. Call your health care provider if this continues with the lower pressure.
It can take some time to get used to the vacuum bell. Some kids might feel a bit of discomfort when the device is put on, but most get used to it pretty quickly.
Most kids do well with the vacuum bell. But if your child struggles, try to be understanding. Work together to come up with solutions and incentives to get your child to wear the vacuum bell. They can wear the vacuum bell under a shirt or even while they sleep.
Your care team is a resource — for you and your child. They are there to answer any questions and help you and your child get the best results from the vacuum bell.
Pectus carinatum, sometimes called pigeon chest, is a deformity of the chest wall in which the chest juts out.
Pectus excavatum is a deformity of the chest wall that causes several ribs and the breastbone to grow abnormally, giving the chest a “caved-in” appearance.
Triple X syndrome (also known as XXX syndrome, 47,XXX, and trisomy X) is a genetic condition found in girls only. Girls who have it may be taller than average, but the symptoms can vary greatly.
Poland syndrome is a condition where a child is born with missing or underdeveloped chest muscles.
Marfan syndrome affects the body’s connective tissue and can cause problems in the eyes, joints, and heart. Even though the disease has no cure, doctors can successfully treat just about all of its symptoms.
Scoliosis makes a personâs spine curve from side to side. Large curves can cause health problems like pain or breathing trouble. Health care providers treat scoliosis with back braces or surgery when needed.
Some teens with scoliosis wear a brace to help stop their curve from getting worse as they grow. Find out more about how scoliosis braces work and how long people wear them in this article for teens.
Some kids with scoliosis wear a brace to help stop their curve from getting worse as they grow. Find out more about the different types of scoliosis braces.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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