Medically reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., R.N., CRNA — created by Lori Smith, MSN, BSN, WHNP-BC on February 6, 2018

Pectus carinatum is a rarely chest wall deformity that causes the breastbone to push outward rather of gift flush against the chest. That is likewise known together pigeon chest or keel chest.

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When the chest wall develops, the cartilage that connects the ribs generally grows level along the chest. In instances of pectus carinatum, this cartilage grows abnormally, bring about unequal expansion in the locations where the ribs attach to the sternum. This reasons the exterior appearance of the chest wall.

Most often, pectus carinatum develops during childhood and also gets more pronounced as kids go with puberty. In some cases, it might not it is in noticed until a child goes v their adolescent development spurt.

In this article, us take a look at the symptoms connected with pectus carinatum, along with the possible causes and also risk factors. We likewise examine the treatment options and the outlook because that this condition.


Share ~ above PinterestPigeon chest or pectus carinatum. Picture credit: Tolson411, (2010, February 13)
Often, the pushing exterior of the breastbone is the just symptom the a human experiences.

Some human being may report other symptoms, together as:

shortness that breath, which is much more common throughout exercisetenderness or ache in the locations of abnormal cartilage growthfrequent respiratory infectionschest painrapid heart rate

In part children, the illustration of pectus carinatum might be worse ~ above one side, through the the contrary side appearing to have actually a dive in it. This dip is referred to as pectus excavatum.

The condition may additionally be linked with details medical conditions including:

kyphosis, whereby the ago is hunchedother musculoskeletal abnormalitiesabnormal expansion patterns

There are two different types of pectus carinatum:

Chondrogladiolar prominence: This type of pectus carinatum is additionally called “chicken breast” and is the most common kind of the condition. Here, the middle and lower part of the breastbone press forward.Chondromanubrial prominence: This form of pectus carinatum is additionally called “Pouter pigeon breast” and is a an ext rare and complicated form of the condition. Here, the breastbone creates in a Z-shape, v the optimal section pushing forward.
Causes and also risk factors
Share top top PinterestPectus carinatum is normally diagnosed by acquisition an X-ray of the chest.

Pectus carinatum is brought about by the abnormal breakthrough of the cartilage the connects the ribs.

The exact reason is no known. The problem can run in families, however, so genes may be a danger factor.

Pectus carinatum occurs more frequently in civilization who have details genetic conditions. These problems include:

Marfan syndromeEhlers-Danlos syndromemetabolic disorders, such together homocystinuriaMorquio syndromebrittle bone diseaseCoffin-Lowery syndromecardiofaciocutaneous syndromechromosomal abnormalities

To diagnose pectus carinatum, a medical professional will should examine just how the breastbone is growing. To do this, lock will likely request a chest X-ray.

A physician may additionally request pulmonary function tests if the problem is leading to respiratory symptoms. People who suffer symptoms pertained to the love may additionally need one electrocardiogram or echocardiogram.

Computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can aid doctors in much more serious cases. If a doctor is considering surgery as a type of treatment, these imaging exam can assist with planning the operation.

Depending on the figure of the pectus carinatum, doctors may additionally decide to check for connected conditions, such together scoliosis, congenital love disease, and also Marfan syndrome.

If the child has not gone through puberty yet, the doctor may decide to wait prior to deciding top top a course of treatment. Act so allows them time to work-related out what the best strategy will be.


While some youngsters and teens can suffer symptoms and also side effects from pectus carinatum, the condition is largely cosmetic. Therapy is based on appearance and also symptoms.


Share ~ above PinterestTreatment is normally most effective when the patient is a kid or adolescent.

The conventional treatment strategy for pectus carinatum in kids with a mild to moderate form of the problem is orthotic bracing. This requires a custom-fitted brace that fits top top the external of the chest.

The objective of the brace is to location pressure top top the area most influenced by the condition, come flatten it to the chest.

To see any kind of effects, a boy will must wear a brace because that at the very least 8 hrs a work for numerous months, according to doctor’s instructions. A child might need come wear the brace until they have actually gone through puberty.


Surgery is usually just an option for human being when a chest brace has been ineffective or once they have passed puberty. A medical professional may additionally consider surgery for civilization whose symptoms space severe.

The Ravitch procedure is a surgical operation that involves removing the abnormal cartilage and also placing the breastbone in a normal position within the chest.

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In some cases, the surgeon will need to break the breastbone so that they deserve to reposition that accurately. Some human being may require a metal chest bar in the interim placed throughout the inside of the chest and also wired to the ribs.