I am a 27 year old male and have a cosmetic case of pectus excavatum. It is mild, but I notice it when I turn sideways and look in the mirror.
I play sports and work out on a regular basis, so I don't think it affects my lung capacity. When doctors have seen me with my shirt off, they haven't mentioned anything about it.
I do get self-conscious about it sometimes in dating, etc. Most women don't see it because I wear a shirt most of the time, but when I go to the beach that's when it becomes noticeable.
Since it's cosmetic, should I still get it fixed? Just the thought of repositioning my sternum at my age is scary because I know my bones are in their fully grown state. Thanks for your help.
In pectus excavatum, it is believed that the heart is displaced to the left side of the chest, and there is a restriction of movement of the heart and lungs. Patients complain of a decrease in stamina and endurance during strenuous exercise (67%), frequent respiratory infections (32%), chest pain (8%) and asthma (7%).
If the pectus deformity is purely cosmetic, you can consider surgical treatment with a thoracic surgery evaluation. However, if the deformity causes heart and lung dysfunction, the surgery should be more strongly considered.
If there is concern, you may want to consider a thoracic surgery referral.
Followup with your personal physician is essential.
This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
It's a really big deal operation compared to most cosmetic surgery; in terms of cost, down time, and risk. Also, since it's not a very common operation, you'd need to look around for someone with plenty of experience. It doesn't hurt to get information: if you find someone who does it (a large medical center) you could have a consultation to find out what it would cost, and what you could expect short and long term. I'd bet you'd find that it's not something you'd really want to do.
Just thought I'd add my two cents. Taking care of the sternum is not a big deal actually. I had a severe case of pectus excavatum and had the sternum corrected during the first part of my surgery. I found some brilliant doctors down at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore that new exactly what they wanted to do.
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