Pectus Frequently Asked Questions


What causes pectus carinatum or excavatum?

The cause of pectus carinatum or excavatum is not known, but heredity or family history may be a factor.  While most cases are not associated with any other condition, some connective tissue disorders, such as Marfan and Ehler-Danlos Syndrome, may be linked to the condition. Tests may be ordered to investigate for these conditions if the team feels like it is warranted.

What is the outlook for my child with pectus carinatum or excavatum?

Most children with pectus carinatum can be successfully treated with bracing. Sometimes, if the condition is severe or if bracing is unsuccessful, surgery may be an option. Children with pectus excavatum can also be successfully treated, sometimes just with physical therapy and exercises.

If my child needs surgery, how long will she or he be in the hospital and when can she or he get back to normal activities?

Most hospital stays are three to seven days. Your doctor will explain the surgery option that is best for your child, along with all the details about how soon your child can be discharged, restrictions on activities and post-operative care and exercises. Typically, some activities are limited for six to 12 weeks as your child’s chest heals, but he or she can go back to school in about two weeks after surgery.

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