Bracing works well, Russell notes, because the chest wall in children and adolescents is soft and flexible. However, if the pigeon chest deformity is severe, pectus carinatum surgery may be recommended. "We would use what's called the Ravitch technique, cutting away abnormal rib cartilage and flattening the sternum," says Russell. About 95 percent of people with pectus carinatum can be treated using a customized chest-wall brace. For pectus excavatum surgery, something called a Nuss bar is inserted between the sternum and the heart, and it stays there for three years. "The curved bar goes under the sternum and through the ribs on the other side, and then we flip it, to push the chest out," says Russell. The pressure from the bar remodels the structure of the chest bones. "Kids also need to avoid contact sports for three months, while they're recovering."
Nov 22, 2021