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Conditions We Treat

Chest Wall Center

A chest wall deformity refers to any structural abnormality of the chest. Our pediatric surgeons who lead the Chest Wall Center at Phoenix Children’s have specialized care in diagnosing and treating many chest wall deformities, including:

  • Pectus Excavatum – Pectus excavatum is an indentation of the chest. It is caused when the sternum (breastbone) is pushed inward. It is the most common chest wall deformity. A depression in the chest will appear from the abnormal growth of the cartilage that attaches the sternum to the ribs. Sometimes, younger children will look like they have a “potbelly” because the lower ribs can stick out.

Pectus excavatum is also called funnel chest, concave chest or simply pectus. Pectus is the most common deformity of the chest wall and is seen in up to 0.08% of the population (including mild cases).

  • Pectus Carinatum – Pectus carinatum causes the sternum and ribs to be pushed outward. (The condition is also called “pigeon chest.”) Pectus carinatum tends to develop more frequently in males and tends to show up during a growth spurt in puberty.
  • Mixed Deformity – Sometimes, children can have an unequal depression of the chest wall, where one side is higher than the other. This can create an unbalanced appearance to the chest.
  • Slipping Rib Syndrome – Slipping rib syndrome happens when the cartilage on a person’s lower rib slips and moves. This can cause pain in their chest and upper abdomen. It is also called clicking rib, displaced rib, rib tip syndrome, nerve nipping, painful rib syndrome and interchondral sublaxation.
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