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Pectus Excavatum Question
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Pectus Excavatum Question

Hi,
     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.

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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.

Thanks,
Kevin, M.D.
4 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
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.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you so much for your help.
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Avatar_n_tn
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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Avatar_m_tn
What were the long and short term effects of your operation?
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A related discussion, Surgery for pectum excavatum? was started.
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A related discussion, Pectus Excavatum was started.
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