Pectus Excavatum

Pectus excavatum is the medical term for funnel chest, the condition that results in your chest appearing to sunken or caved-in. It's a congenital deformity caused by bones growing abnormally, resulting in cshorter-than-normal distance of the rib cage from the breastbone (sternum) to the backbone (vertebrae).

Pectus excavatum is a relatively common occurence and happens more in males than females. Often, there are no symptoms associated with it, other than the psychological aspect of it that can bother some people.

In some cases, you might experience back or chest pain, and in severe cases, your heart and lungs may also be affected. This can lead to exercise intolerance or other problems.

Surgery is the only proven treatment to correct the defect and is often very successful. Both minimally invasive and open procedures can be used.

The open surgery requires exposing the anterior chest wall, resecting lots of cartilage, and creating muscle and skin flaps. The minimally invasive procedure involves making a small incision in the skin and placing an outwardly curved steel bar under the chest.

Pectus Carinatum

Pectus carinatum creates a bulge that can sometimes give the chest a bird-like or barrel appearance.

Pectus carinatum may prevent you from exhaling completely. The heart and lungs are normal, but young people may have difficulty exercising a result of the condition.

The cause of the condition is not known, although some have suggested that an abnormality in connective tissue development may be at fault.

Surgical correction is quite successful and can be done as either an open or minimally invasive procedure, similar to pectus excavatum.

Chest Wall Tumors

Tumors, or lesions, on the chest wall may be suspected based on a physical exam or x-ray. Often, diagnosis requires an open biopsy, which means you'll need an operation involving general anesthesia so the surgeon can remove a piece of the affected tissue.

Depending on the type of tumor, though, removal or resection of the affected area is almost always possible. If reconstruction of the wall is then needed, that can be done, too. It may require using prosthetic materials and rotating muscle flaps to create a cosmetically acceptable and functional result.

Sternoclavicular Joint Infection

The joints formed by your collar bones (clavicles) and chest are called sternoclavicular joints. When these joints work as they should, they are what allow you to move your shoulders and arms forward.

If the joints become infected, which is rare, treatment may require drainage of fluid and often removal of affected bone.