Chest Wall Clinic
For more information:
Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Surgery Group
Chest wall deformities in children can affect both the health of a child
and a child’s self image, especially as the child moves into adolescence.
Children's Hospital has a clinic to treat chest wall deformities,
pectus carinatum (pigeon chest)
pectus excavatum (funnel chest)
. Heath problems from chest wall deformities can include difficulty breathing,
problems tolerating exercise and other physical limitations, chest pain,
frequent respiratory infections and heart palpitations.
Under the direction of the
Pediatric Surgery Group at Children’s Hospital, the clinic is a multidisciplinary clinic
where a patient’s health care team will come together to formulate
the best plan for the patient. This includes the surgeons, nurse practitioners,
psychologists, subspecialists such as pulmonologists and orthopedists
as needed, pain and palliative care clinicians, social workers, care coordinators
and other clinicians involved in the patient’s care.
Pectus carinatum (pigeon chest)
Pectus carinatum (pigeon chest) is a disorder of the chest wall because of an unusual growth of the rib
and breastbone and gives the chest a birdlike appearance. This condition
will be treated with an innovative
bracing system developed in South America by Argentinean physicians Marcelo Matinez-Ferro,
M.D. and Carlos Fraire, M.D. Children’s Hospital will be the first
hospital in Tennessee and the second in the southeast to use this technology.
Each patient will receive a custom fitted brace that measures and adjusts
pressure on the thoracic wall to gradually push the breastbone back into
normal position. Data shows that this therapy leads to fewer difficulties
in use, fewer surgeries and better compliance in use by patients. This
technology helps to avoid surgery in almost 90 percent of the cases. Duration
of treatment varies by severity. The monthly clinic will track a patient’s
progress and the average treatment.
Pectus excavatum (funnel chest or sunken chest)
Pectus excavatum (funnel chest or sunken chest) is a congenital deformity of the chest wall that causes several ribs and
the breastbone/sternum to grow in an inward direction. Early referral
to a pediatric surgeon for patients with mild or moderate deformities
is important to determine surgical options and optimize treatment. For
younger patients that are not candidates, or do not desire surgery, a
vacuum bell may be used on the chest creating a vacuum seal that can gradually
lift the sternum over time. The vacuum bell can also be used in severe
cases to achieve partial correction that will make the operative correction
The current state-of-the-art operative procedure for correction of pectus
excavatum is the minimally invasive placement of a stainless steel bar
to reconfigure the chest wall, known as the Nuss procedure. Our entire
team has extensive experience with this operative technique.
Last year, the pediatric surgeons at East Tennessee Children's Hospital
treated 69 patients for pectus excavatum and pectus carnatum. The chest
wall clinic started accepting patients in February 2019.
For more information about this clinic, call Children's Hospital Pediatric
Surgery Group at (865) 546-2131.