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Center for Chest Wall Deformities

Connecticut Children’s Center for Chest Wall Deformities treats pediatric patients affected by Pectus Excavatum, Pectus Carinatum and other deformities of the chest wall. We offer services in Hartford, CT, Danbury, CT, and Westport, CT. 

We utilize an enhanced recovery protocol incorporating evidence-based guidelines for pre-operative and post-operative care of pectus excavatum and pectus carinatum. Our highly skilled multidisciplinary team integrates medicine and physical therapy with a multi-modal post-operative pain management plan to ensure the highest quality medical care for kids with pectus excavatum and pectus carinatum. 

What is Pectus Excavatum?

Pectus Excavatum is a depression of the sternum and lower costal cartilages. It is the most common anterior chest wall congenital abnormality in children, often detected at birth or within the first year of life.

Over time, children with Pectus Excavatum may notice limitations with normal physical activity due to the restriction of the chest, which keeps the lungs from expanding fully. Children may also become self-conscious.

Pectus carinatum is a chest wall deformity in which the breastbone and ribs are pushed outward. This is an example of a boy with the condition.
A child with pectus excavatum.

Pectus Excavatum Treatment

Pediatric patients with any degree of chest wall deformity are thoroughly evaluated at the onset of the deformity and throughout adolescence. A thorough assessment of the child’s condition will determine the most appropriate treatment option available.

When indentation of the chest is greater than 2.5 centimeters, internal changes are likely to occur, and surgery may be required to treat your child.

Connecticut Children’s surgeons use the Nuss Procedure, which is a minimally invasive surgical technique and treatment to correct Pectus Excavatum. During the procedure, a steel bar is placed behind the sternum. The bar remains in place for a minimum of three years to correct the condition as a treatment option. 

Connecticut Children’s has performed the Nuss Procedure and other chest wall procedures for nearly 40 years treating children across the state.

What is Pectus Carinatum (also known as Pigeon Chest)?

Pectus carinatum, also known as “pigeon chest”, is the most second common chest wall deformity found in children between the ages of 11-15 years. The breastbone and ribs are pushed outward from abnormal growth of cartilage. Usually, this becomes apparent during a child’s growth spurt and puberty stage – most commonly found in boys.

Pectus Carinatum Treatment

After a thorough evaluation of the child’s medical history, physical examination, and imaging results, there are two treatment options considered for every child. Bracing can be the preferred choice for those in their early stages of development while surgical intervention is more likely for those with severe pectus carinatum or other difficult nuances. Both bracing and surgery are safe and effective treatments. We suggest a referral to our department as soon as pectus carinatum becomes visible to optimize treatment for your child. 

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