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Pectus causing back pain?
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Pectus causing back pain?

I went to the ER with chest pain and was told that a chest wall deformity (they called it pectus excavatum) I've had nearly all my life is the source of my back/chest pain.  The chest pain is not nearly as bad as it was, I just feel a little tight in the chest every now and then, but the back pain has persisted.

A thoracic spine MRI was done and nothing abnormal could be found.  All okay there.  An EKG came back normal and an x-ray revealed a healthy heart size and position in my chest cavity.

What worries me now is whether or not I will qualify for the corrective surgery for pectus excavatum (minimally invasive Nuss procedure) because it's not causing pulmonary distress or shortness of breath.  I know the next step is to get a CT for my heart and lungs,


If my back is healthy now, as the MRI reported, could the pectus cause it to get worse over time?  I am *seriously* concerned about my back because I am in school to be a firefighter and my back is the single most important asset to my career.  My back has a 'hump' (from the pectus, is what I'm told) only on the right side about halfway down my back. As shown here;

NOTE: I should add that my pectus is only on the right side of my chest and it's not very severe at all.  Picture;
Related Discussions
Treatment for pectus excavatum is controversial since there are no consensus studies showing clear benefit.  Some reports show improvement in lung function, exercise tolerance, and stroke volume postoperatively - while others suggest that that surgery should be reserved for cosmetic purposes.

One suggested criterion is a transthoracic lateral diameter to sternovertebral distance ratio of greater than 3.5, however this can be discussed with your surgeon.

Because there is controversy about the approach to treatment, a second opinion may not be a bad idea in this instance.

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.

Kevin, M.D.
1 Comment
And if I don't qualify for the Nuss procedure to fix the excavatum... what other options are there for me?
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