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"Do I need surgery for pectus excavatum?"

ZocdocAnswersDo I need surgery for pectus excavatum?


I am 29 y o male with self-diagnosed pectus excavatum (it's pretty obvious) and I want to know if I need surgery for it. I've been fine until now but I wonder if it keeps me from doing sports properly. How bad should it be for surgery?


Pectus excavatum is a congenital deformity (congenital meaning you are born with it) of the chest wall in which the sternum (breast bone) and attaching ribs are 'sunken in' in the middle of the chest. Most cases of pectus excavatum are very mild and do not require any treatment, unless the pectus is a serious cosmetic concern for the patient. In more severe cases, there is concern that the pectus can cause compression of the heart and lungs. This could cause problems with the ability to exercise normally, such as shortness of breath or fatigue, murmurs or problems with the heart valves, and similar problems. If you have gotten to 29 years old without problems, then this is unlikely to be your case. However, most people with pectus excavatum should be checked out be your primary doctor just to make sure. Your doctor will listen to your heart and lungs and ask you some basic questions about your health and ability to exercise. If anything turns up on the exam, they may want to obtain some radiological studies, lung function tests, or an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart). Only if these studies turn something up would you need to have surgery for the condition.

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