Forums June 17, 2010 - Embarrassing Body Problems Concave Chest, "Pectus Excavatum"

Concave Chest, "Pectus Excavatum"

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5_candy_turquoise_sq_72dpi_medium sugarx2 1 post

I would like to send this message to the wonderful teen who was on the show today.

I have been dating a wonderful guy for 8 years, who has this same type of chest.

When we first started dating, I asked him about his chest. Only that I too hoped it wasn’t a health issue.

He said, “I was born with it that way, and I find it is a perfect place to keep my M&Ms when I am sitting back in the recliner!”

We laughed. He actually does do that! When he is wearing a tee shirt, they fit there perfectly!

When we are sitting on the couch together, it is a perfect place to rest my curled hands. They warm right up!

Don’t be self-conscious about it. Any girl who likes you, (and you are adorable!), will find it a comforting place to cuddle in!!!


Icon_missing_medium hmans 1 post

I also wanted to offer the young man some encouragement.

I’m married to a man with a concave chest, and I find it sexy. Its something that makes him unique. I love to cuddle up to him and have my own special chest to lay my head on.

He too has a nickname for it, he calls it his “cereal bowl.” Although he doesn’t really eat cereal out of it.. I’ll have to tell him about M&Ms. : )

Don’t be embarassed, there nothing to be embarassed about! I don’t think any of our friends have ever made fun of my hubby’s ‘cereal bowl,’ and I know that women don’t look at it negatively. Both of his brothers have a ‘cereal bowl’ too, and all I ever hear my girlfriends say is how hot they all are.

So don’t let it worry you! You’ll still have women all over you, and honestly, I think it makes my hubbie’s pecs look bigger, so the men will probably be jealous too. : )

Frangipani_flowers_medium marfan girl 1 post

Hi, has anyone considered or ruled out Marfan’s Syndrome? People with Marfan’s Syndrome can have a caved-in chest or the opposite (pigeon breast). You should ask your doctor to do an echo-cardiogram. People with Marfan’s can have an enlarged aortic root, which is only visible & measured by echo-cardiogram. If not diagnosed & treated, it can dissect & be fatal. Even olympic athletes have died from undiagnosed Marfan’s Syndrome. I don’t want to scare anyone, but this information could save a life! For more information about Marfan’s Syndrome, contact the National Marfan’s Foundation at

My friend’s son had Marfan’s Syndrome, you can read their story (& others) at
I myself was diagnosed at 17 due to numerous musculoskeletal deformities. I hope you find the help, information, & support you need!

Icon_missing_medium carrievan 1 post

I was happily surprised to see this on the doctors! I am a 36 yr old woman who also has a “sunken chest”- mine is a bit more severely sunk,than his, along w/a slightly convex manubrium! I hope he knows that as long as there are no health issues,it’s really no biggie to live with or be embarrassed about! pretty much all of my friends and ALL of my family know i have this and it has never really been an issue for any of them-quite the conversation piece at times!LOL i have thought of getting it reconstructed at times, but once i really think about it, it’s a part of who i am,and dont really NEED to change it!

Icon_missing_medium AllAmerican 1 post

According to Mayo Clinic – Pectus excavatum occurs in about 1 in every 400 births. I have a chest that sunk in as a child and it gave me more cleavage later on :) As for Marfans, it’s occurence rate is 1 in about 5,000, pretty rare and now days VERY TREATABLE when it comes to any issue that might arise.

I have dated guys who have sunken in chests and I have dated guys who’s chests stuck out. And the doctors actually said it’s a cosmetic issue. And it’s relationship to Marfan’s is a minor criteria. Meaning, it’s common in normal people as well.

I think this boy looks just great, and will do great with the ladies :)

Icon_missing_medium pectusdude 1 post

I am a 42 year old male who had the Nuss Procedure to correct my pectus excavatum in May 2009.  I am now 6 months post-surgery and am very pleased with my results.  I wish there was more awareness about the condition.

I have created a blog about my surgery experience at


Icon_missing_medium goncama 1 post

My 15 year old daughter had the Nuss Procedure done on Thursday, the day this topic aired. People were calling me at the hospital to say that they were able to see what she was going through. I don’t believe at all that this procedure is purely cosmetic. Her surgery took 1 1/2 hours and the results were dramatic. Her surgeon was trained by Dr. Nuss. He was wonderful and I highly recommend him.

Three things were changed for her by this surgery: 1. one lung is no longer compressed by her heart 2. her heart is no longer out of place nor being compressed by the ribcage and 3. her physical appearance is normal.

Thank you Dr. Nuss for inventing a better way to correct this medical birth defect.

Jerah_medium jerahhines 1 post

my 4 year old son is going to have this sugery is there anything anyone can till me please

Icon_missing_medium joanneflynn 1 post

My son who is now 22 years old has a con-caved chest. He was embarrsed over this through out his teen years and took up bodybuilding he looks amazing and the con-cave chest helped his pecs to appear even more impressive. He also has a 12 degree curve in his spine and the bodybuilding has improved the appearence of his back wonderfully. From what I saw on the show your son appears to like fitness so maybe bodybuilding might help.

Bethkoenig_medium Beth Koenig 1 post

Hello My son had this type of chest, He has Marfran Syndrome, we researched the operation to correct his chest, when he was younger, they would put a bar inside his chest to slowly POP out his chest. Needless to say we didn’t get this done. He now is 24 years old lives in Florida and goes to the beach often. Please help you son not be ashamed of his body my son is very comfortable with is body and is very healthy thank God. Best wishes

Icon_missing_medium Victoria55 1 post

Im watching about the con-caved chest, my son is 26 now, but was born with a chest that you could put your index fingers from back to front and almost touch. Since he was very young I tryed, with doctors since he was so upset and kids made fun of him . They said NO, cosmetic. Very odd, but nothing I could do. He will not take his shirt off growing up. Back in late 1980’s the procedure would involve almost like a heart attack procedure and break their ribs and a 3 month healing process which needed the summer to get over. Very SAD!

Icon_missing_medium Sanssix X 1 post

The brief presentation on concave chest developmental disfigurements(pectus excavatum) was a bit superficial and merits a little more useful information for parents. Most cases are genetic in development progress, unrestricted to race or sex, and can have a significant psychological effect on adolescent development, especially in females who are less noticeable due to breast development. This developmental period of breast growth may also cause some shy or self conscious females to, more so, hunch their shoulders inward to lessen their breast profile, adding to unfavorable developmental mechanics that can exacerbate the concave lower sternal turn-in. Therapeutic posturing is a componet for biased directional growth patterns, just as noted in early scoliosis bracing, tibial torsion in babies, etc. in order to encourage better growth alignment of forming bones, ligaments and tendpons. This brings up the more important aspect. The majority of these pectus excavatum cases are actually a part of a developmental triad(3 separate area) disorder involving not only sternal development, but spinal development and foot arch development.
More often, these patients, on astute examination, will be found to have low arches, to even fully flat feet, and a double curve in their spine, though not to a degree enough to label it scoliosis, which requires a certain severity in degree of curve. Checking parents will find whether it came from Mom’s or Dad’s side of the family(feet arches, spine, sternum). If both have it, the child may have more severity. Also, future children, siblings and the future grandchildren must be kept in mind for carrying or expressing the patterns.
The child’s feet should be examined, and early arch support introduction through growth phases may make the degree of fallen arches less. This may seem cosmetic, but is truly an important consideration in not just matching feet to off the rack footware, which are made with a calculated average arch legnth and height from statistics of normal feet, but in overall sports and athletic performance. The arch serves to give the foot a flexibility and “roll through” from heel strike to front foot loading to spring off in the next step. It’s like a bowl front edge touching down, then rolling forward along the edge to your side and settling on the far rim as the rear rim is picked up. Then you spring forward with added spring power stored in the flexible arch to go farther, faster with less energy and impact strain on your mid foot bones and ligaments in a continuous motion forward. Another important part of this roll through-launch phase in the stride is it’s continuos progress which conserves momentum with no jolts, staggers or stops. Now, a low arch loses this flexibility and sping power as the arch is less, and increases the “slap” of the front ball of the foot phase, causing a jolting loss of some forward momentum and more shock absorbed into the midfoot ligaments. As the foot approaches flatness, it’s actually like running on solid wood clogs striking heel first, no side roll, then slaaping down flat forward to then require alot more “oomph” momentum to be mustrered in leaning forward to bring the foot up on its forefoot ball to push off forward. Very energy inefficient, more impact strain loading(lost energy) and faultier forward launching mechanics, resulting in a more awkward running/walking gate with distorted phases making you slower and tire more quickly. A child who protects arch development(early guidance), or can correct some degree of it will improve the bio-mechanics of leverage and momentum and resultantly run better, faster, longer and boost his athletic self-esteem. Footwear purchase will be easier, but still require partial support, and ability to walk/run longer/better on harder surfaces will be experienced. Often, on questioning, they will report that they do fine on soft and giving surfaces, but the when Gym class or play switches seasons to a hard surface, as on board floors/concrete in basketball, they notice theirn feet hurt more often later on, and/or their stamina on these surfaces is less. So, check the feet, and observe/question their function and complaints on surface changes/sports changes.
The child’s spine(and parents/siblings) should be examined carefully, because a rough rushed exame can miss the vertebral torsion defect.
Have the child stand feet even and leaning forward to touch their toes. View the spine from standing/kneeling at the top of their head and look straight down the midline of the spin from neck to tailbone. See the boney bumps(posterior spinous processes) of each vertebra down the midline. Feel them with one finger, and even mark them with a dash for each along the midline. Observing this will most likely show that the spinous processes deviate around the neck to one side in a short subtle curve, then return and cross to the other at the start of the upper thoracic(chest segment) spine, then have a broader curve back across to the first side and return to the other around the lower thoracic/upper lumbar spine. This can be seen more definitively by stretching a string or line drawn on tape/paper and laying it over the midine. This is the cosmetic aspect, but shows that the vertebrtae are developing with a degree of assymetry and uneven rotational alignment. Functionally is another story. Though the small degree of curving left to right to left to right(or vice-a-versa), it does contribute to the rib angle and curvature that results in the sunken chest deformity. More importantly, there becomes a mechanical block in ability to rptate the spine in the regions that these deviations from midline occur. To see this, while the child is flexed forward, head down, have them swing their arms out to the sides, like airplane or jet wings, each equally, while looking straight down, aligned forward with feet still even. Now, place a hand on each shoulder, and rotate their trunk clockwise until the spine seems to stop, their face now pointing to to side instead of floor. Note the angle, like a clock hand, that their shoulder, arm(airplane wing) reaches. Then do it counter clockwise. The curvature will make them able to turn more to one side than the other, sometimes as much as a 45 degree difference. This isn’t so noticeable as they raise up from flexion and straighten their spine, so the forward flex position is important. This shows that there is a functional and performance bias between right and left turning of their trunk, worse with flexion forward. Its imp[ortance is in what they want to be doing athletically, or are at risk of injury due to the inflexibility in the tighter direction. As an example,
Gymnastics, diving, dance/ballet, many other sports moves assume flexibility that is equal right and left sided. A child with this development variation has drawbacks and benefits of their assymetry. To tuck and roll in Gymnastics, diving, swimming turns, etc, the tighter the tuck, the faster the turn and less energy needed, so they may do much better using their more flexible side for the turn. Using the stiifer side in rotating will slow the turn and require more energy. This will result in poorer performance if speed is needed. But, it may allow them benefit if slower turn and locking for a different dive, jump turn is desired. Knowing these performance issues makes a difference in athletic versatility. It equally applies to a reciver running to catch a pass, or fielder reaching/turning to catch a ball. A normal spine will allow equal performance whichever side the ball is passed/fielded. But a child with the spinal curve will have less reach and ability to the tight side, and more, like a twisting cat, to the left. This analysis may favor playing in certain positions on a field over others or where and what side a pass is to be thrown. Same applies for dance moves, directions, turns, and applications abound in sports performance everywhere. Learning this can lead to more satisfactory participation, especially if they were unnoticed and poor performing or lost heart in an activity for not knowing the difference. It is a big contributor to the developing esteem and prowess of any adolescent. Additionally, knowing that they are restricted/tight to one side in turniong versus the other, lends to knowledge of injury avoidance. If they know they may be tackled, piled on, hit or forced while in some forward flexion, then favoring their turn to the more flexible side would be protective. If forced forward or down while flexed, and turning to the tighter side, the ligaments will lock sooner and loose muscle support and result in a torn ligament/joint injury easier. Attempts to try to “Stretch” this tightness forcefully is not the answer, and will risk harm or over stretched lax ligaments to that side. The answer is early postural and range of flexion/rotation guidance as the are growing. Or a long term gentle stretching program if the already have set curves. In this aspect, the occurence of young self-conscious females hunching forward during breast development also must be brought up again. This bad posturing will also lend to increased spinal torsioning predisposition.
They key is, identify the genetic inheritance(mom or dad), no matter how minimal; confirm with a doctors exam(make sure they look sufficiently); start emphasis on good posture and keeping flexible spine-wise, with a little encouraging routine twists to the evolving tight side; know the asymetric bias developing so it doesn’t deter or dishearten them in performance and they can learn to be protective. Follow their foot development, scutinize their arch “legnth” as well as height compared to the formed arch in shoes bought off the rack, pay attention to their sports performance and ask about foot soreness, ache or tiring when playing on different surfaces. And observe their chest development, especially in developing girls and insist their doctor note this through puberty. The sternum need only be felt to tell that the upper portion actually flares out more than usual, so then the lower portion caves in, pulling the mid-lower ribs with it, causing the typical “dent” in the right and left loer ribbbed front chest with the lowest rib edge flaring out farther. Keep good posturing and recheck if the chest is retracting too much in concern. Do not take apathy as an answer. Many doctors do not have the full knowledge or understanding through all the developmental links.
Just to note a bit more complexity, some of these cases are not only skeletally linked to separate areas, but also involve the heart, and in some cases much more tissue. Marfan’s Syndrome, fully expressed genetically, is the extreme, associated also with all joint hyperextensibilites loose ligaments and heart structure malformations. But it can also be expressed partially, not fitting the classical clinical picture. Sometimes the triad of sternum, arch and spine malformation is found associated with heart defects in the skeletal support structure of the valves, and the child has a significant heart murmur, due to valve leak/malformation, or a whole in his heart wall between chambers. That is why heart murmurs must be listened to carefully through development in pre- and adolescencet puberty. If the triad also exists, the physician must think much deeper, longer in developmental observation and be more cautious in assigning the diagnosis of a simple inherited deviation. Most times, growing up like mom and dad will be duplicated. But understanding and compensating in function may lead to a better development of self-esteem, athleticsm, physicality and adjustment in adolescence to adulthood, and to future generations.

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Icon_missing_medium Miss-mini-doc 3 posts

When I was 16 I had my PE fixed with the Nuss procedure.  I chose to have this done because it was affecting my activity level (tachycardia), it had slightly displaced my heart, and obviously it did not look appealing on a 16 year old girl.  I am very happy with how it turned out and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested!! The worst part of it was the amount of time it took to recover….probably 2.5 months until i was completely back to normal!  But  i really have The Doctors to thank for this because i never knew that i had the option to have it surgically fixed until i saw it on this show. thanks docs 

Icon_missing_medium albert91 1 post

What hospital in Massachusetts offer this procedure?

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Forums June 17, 2010 - Embarrassing Body Problems Concave Chest, "Pectus Excavatum"



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