Childhood Diseases

Posted by: C | 2010/09/07


Concave sternum

Hello Dr. My son is 11.5 years and we noticed when he was running around with his shirt off at the weekend, that he now has a concave breastbone. I was very alarmed at the time as it looked very severe, but last night it didnt seem as bad (but still definately there). The first time I noticed it - he had just eaten a big meal, so not sure if it could have looked worse as his tum was full ?? This was definately not like this before, it seems to have just appeared suddenly?? I have looked up on the internet and if I am looking at the correct info, it seems like it is hereditary. DUe to a heavy workload I cannot get him to see dr or pead this week - is this something you suggest we take time off work for to see a dr, or something that needs to be checked out in due course?

Many thanks

Expert's Reply



You have given an excelent description of your son's chest and your concerns. Your son appears to have a change in his chest shape due to a concave sternum which is know as 'pectus excavatum' or funnel chest.This is a congenital condition but does not usually inherited.Pectus excavatum is more common in boys. The cause of the chest shape change is unknown but seems to occur at a time of rapid growth of the chest. Sometimes children with this chest shape become short of breath but in most cases there are no symptoms.This can be corrected with a relatvely simple operation called the Nuss proceedure. You should take your son to see a thoracic surgeon for san opinion as to whether the Nuss operation can be done here.Dr Nuss is an ex South Afruican working at the Cleveland Clinic in the USA.You could contact him for advice as to how you should proceed with your son's condition.

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Posted by: C | 2010/09/07

Thank you so much Dr.

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