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What Is the Utah Pectus Program?

University of Utah Health provides expert care for children, adolescents, and young adults who have chest wall deformities. Specialists at the Utah Pectus Program are experts in pectus deformities such as pectus carinatum and pectus excavatum

Specialists at the Utah Pectus Program have extensive experience diagnosing and treating pectus conditions in patients under 30 years old. Our partnership with the Utah Fetal Center ensures that our specialists bring you collaborative and informed care.

Nuss surgeries per year 

comprehensive pectus program 

visits annually 

such as cryoablation 


available for pre- and post-operative care 

Young boy takes a selfie while on a red rock hike
"Before getting the surgery, I didn’t realize how difficult it was for me to breathe, since it had been that way my entire life. My mom said one of the first things I said right after I came out of surgery, was that I could breathe a lot better."
David Miller Utah Pectus Program patient

Find a Pectus Specialist Near You

Types of Chest Wall Deformities

Pectus Excavatum vs. Pectus Carinatum

Pectus deformities are congenital, meaning you are born with them. But the conditions usually get worse during adolescence. Boys and people assigned male at birth are more likely to have a chest wall deformity. Experts don’t know why some children have pectus deformities, but family medical history may play a role. 

Pectus excavatum causes your breastbone and ribs to grow inward. It is the most common chest wall deformity. Pectus carinatum is less common and causes your breastbone and ribs to jut outward.

Some children have mild pectus deformities, and you may not notice them until puberty. But other pectus deformities are severe and obvious early in life. Either way, treating your pectus deformity is important for your heart and lung health. Treatment will also help many children who experience self-esteem and body image issues because of a pectus deformity.

What to Expect at Your Pectus Consultation

Your pediatric specialist will measure the size of you or your child’s pectus deformity. They will ask questions and do a physical exam to see how the condition affects breathing and heart performance. You may also need tests such as an echocardiogram, an EKG, a CT scan, and a stress test. Your pediatric specialist will then find the best treatment option for you.

Treatment depends on how serious your deformity is. A brace is usually the best way to fix pectus carinatum, and you may not need surgery. Pectus excavatum usually requires a minimally invasive surgery. But sometimes there are nonsugical options. 

Why Choose U of U Health?

U of U Health has year-after-year exceptional rankings as offering the best health care in the nation. It's not a surprise. We believe collaboration throughout our system—from physicians, researchers, biologists, and more—leads to the most imaginative care.

Working together in a rich, diverse clinical environment means our discoveries have a direct impact on the health of our patients. U of U Health isn't satisfied with just offering health care. We want to transform it.

Schedule an Appointment

You can call 801-662-2950 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online. A referral is not required, but your insurance plan may require one. Your primary care provider can fax a referral to 801-662-2980, call 801-662-2950, or complete our online referral form. 

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