Sunken Chest Pectus Excavatum is the most common chest wall deformity that causes the breastbone and several ribs to grow abnormally, giving the chest a “caved-in” or “Sunken” appearance. It can be present at birth. However, most of patients notice the dormifity at teenage and may grow more sunken over time.
For normal daily activities, there is no impact on heart or lung function but it can compromise lung and heart capacity, causing the patient to experience shortness of breath because lungs are confined and cannot properly expand.
Up to these days, the cause of Pectus Excavatum is unknown, but it is found out that approximately 20% of the patients have family members with the defect. It is a relatively common congenital deformity and occurs 3-4 times more frequently in males than in females. Moreover, Pectus Excavatum is commonly associated with connective tissue disorders such as Marfan and Ehlers Danlos syndromes.
Another chest deformity in the same category is called “Pectus Carinatum”, which is characterized by a protrusion of the chest and ribs. It occurs less frequently than Pectus Excavatum.
The standard treatment approach for Pectus Carinatum is orthotic bracing. The brace will apply a pressure on the affected area to flatten the chest.