Chest Wall Deformities

Jose Greenspon, MD, Charles B. Huddleston, MD

Key Points

  • Chest wall deformities can be subdivided into cartilaginous, costal, costochondral and sternal. Pectus excavatum (PE) and pectus carinatum (PC), both cartilaginous malformations, are by far the most common chest wall deformities.
  • Chest wall deformities are for the most part benign conditions, but they often produce symptoms. Surgical correction often correlates with symptomatic relief.
  • Other rare congenital chest wall deformities include Jeune’s syndrome and ectopia cordis; these carry a very high mortality.

A variety of chest wall anomalies occur in children. By far the most common of these is PE. It constitutes approximately 90% of pediatric chest wall deformities and occurs in 1 of every 200 to 1 in 1000 live births. In general, chest wall anomalies pose no major health risk to these children, although they are often symptomatic. However, a few of these deformities, such as ectopia cordis and asphyxiating thoracic dystrophy (Jeune’s disease), are life-threatening.

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Last updated: October 18, 2022