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A concave sternum, or breastbone, may exist at birth. Pectus excavatum is the most common chest wall irregularity in children, according to a article published in the journal Pediatric Annals. The journal also reports that one-third of children with a sunken chest have a family member with the condition. Doctors do know that sunken chest occurs due to a developmental issue during pregnancy. Usually about 35 days into the gestation period, the ribs start to fuse with the breastbone. According to a recent article in the journal Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery, men are four times more likely to experience sunken chest than women.
When women do have a sunken chest, it tends to be more pronounced, the journal article reports. In severe cases, the condition can interfere with how the heart and lungs function. In mild cases, sunken chest can cause self-image problems. Some people with this condition may avoid activities such as swimming that make hiding the condition difficult. Some people with this condition may experience the following:. People with severe pectus excavatum may experience shortness of breath and chest pain. Surgery may be necessary to relieve discomfort and prevent heart and breathing abnormalities.
Chest X-rays or CT scans are used to create images of the internal structures of the chest. These scans help measure the severity of the curvature. The Haller index is a standardized measurement used to calculate the severity of the condition. The Haller index is calculated by dividing the width of the rib cage by the distance from the sternum to the spine.
A normal index is about 2. An index greater than 3. According to a article, sunken chest occurs in an estimated 1 in births. The journal also notes an estimated 2.
Most often, a doctor can tell if has sunken chest at birth. Some children with pectus excavatum also have other medical conditions or bone abnormalities. Examples include:. This means that as a person gets older, the depth to which their chest appears sunken may increase.
If they do have these symptoms, they can speak to their doctor about potential treatment steps. If a person is having breathing or heart problems, their doctor will likely recommend surgery. Other treatments include exercises to improve breathing and posture.
This type of therapy involves a person using a special pump applied against the chest wall for anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. The pump creates negative pressure on the chest that can elevate the chest wall to reduce the incidence of sunken chest. One of the benefits of vacuum bell therapy is that a person of nearly any age can use it.
Doctors are evaluating a new technique called the magnetic mini-mover procedure. This experimental procedure involves implanting a powerful magnet within the chest wall. A second magnet is attached to the outside of the chest. Wife sunken to meet mature male magnets generate enough force to gradually remodel the sternum and ribs, forcing them outward. The external magnet is worn as a brace for a prescribed of hours per day. These approaches can help reduce their symptoms.
Frequent physical activity, including playing sports, can also help. Staying in good shape can help a person strengthen their heart and lungs so their symptoms are less noticeable. Some people may choose to have surgery for cosmetic purposes to help them feel less self-conscious about their chest. Others may have health complications from sunken chest, like heart or breathing problems. Surgery can often improve their symptoms. Whenever possible, doctors usually recommend waiting until after an adolescent has passed their first major pediatric growth spurt, which can occur between ages 10 and According to a recent article, the average age for a person to have sunken chest surgery is The Ravitch procedure is an invasive surgical technique pioneered in the late s.
The technique involves opening the chest cavity with a wide horizontal incision. Small sections of rib cartilage are removed, and the sternum is flattened. Struts, or metal bars, may be implanted to hold the altered cartilage and bones in place. Drains are placed at either side of the incision, and the incision is stitched back together. Struts can be removed but are intended to remain in place indefinitely. It involves making two small cuts on either side of the chest, slightly below the level of the nipples. A third small incision allows surgeons to insert a miniature camera, which is used to guide the insertion of a gently curved metal bar.
This forces the sternum outward. A second bar may be attached perpendicular to the first to help keep the curved bar in place. Stiches are used to close the incisions, and temporary drains are placed at or near the incision sites. This technique requires no cutting or removal of cartilage or bone. The metal bars are typically removed during an outpatient procedure about 2 years after the initial surgery in young people. By then, correction is expected to be permanent. The bars may not be removed for 3 to 5 years or may be left in place permanently in adults.
Surgical correction has an excellent success rate. However, any surgical procedure involves risk, including:. The most severe and uncommon risk with a Nuss procedure is direct injury to the heart. Scars are unavoidable but are fairly minimal with the Nuss procedure. To reduce this risk, surgery is usually delayed until after age 8. Complications are uncommon with either surgery, but the severity and frequency of complications in children and adults are about the same for types. According to a analysis of studies published in the journal Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery that focused on both procedures in children and adults, the researchers found there are slightly fewer complications resulting from the Ravitch procedure in adults.
Gynecomastia is a medical condition that causes breast development in males. Some males may choose to have surgery to lessen the breast-like appearance of their chest. Both gynecomastia and sunken chest may become more noticeable during puberty. Following surgery, a person Wife sunken to meet mature male talk to their doctor about whether they need treatment for sunken chest. If the condition causes symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgical correction. Surgery to repair a sunken chest typically offers very positive. Your doctor can evaluate the severity of your condition and help you decide whether surgery is right for you.
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Sunken chest in babies.
Sunken chest in adults. How to fix sunken chest. Sunken chest exercises.Wife sunken to meet mature male
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What to Know About Sunken Chest