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 Martinez-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.
Illustrations courtesy of KidsHealth
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. Using a special
vacuum bell, the treatment looks like a large suction cup attached to a child’s
or teen’s chest creating a vacuum seal and gradually lifting the
sternum over time. This device allows patients to use it without interfering
with school, sports and other daily activities. Until now, treatment of
pectus excavatum often required surgery, where a surgeon would insert
a curved metal bar to a patient’s chest to push out the sternum
and ribs. Just like the bracing system, this too will be an alternative
to surgery for many patients.