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Old 10-15-2005, 02:28 PM   #1
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Abnormal sternum growth

My 16-year-old son has been suffering with chronic back pain for several months. He has grown 5-6 inches over the past year and is very tall and thin. We have noticed his chest protrudes and it looks like his sternum is bowed outward (his older brother also has this, but the bow is off center). He also has poor posture, with rolled shoulders, and it appears that his upper spine is swayed outward and lower spine sways inward.

I've done some research and found something called pectus carinatum (pigeon breast). We are taking him for a checkup in a couple of weeks, but I am wondering if anyone can tell us anything about these issues. Any input would be appreciated.

-A worried mom

 
Old 10-16-2005, 11:32 AM   #2
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Re: Abnormal sternum growth

I have a 14 year old that has the opposite, his chest sinks in, Pectus Excavatum. He had surgery a year ago to correct this, but unfortunately only had negative results and his bar had to be removed early.
I know that sometimes they use bracing to push the sternum in. There are also surgeries to correct PC, but if this is something you are thinking about, now is the time while the bone is still easy to "mold". Also make sure you do your homework on the surgeon. Alot of them claim they can fix it, but have very little experience. If you do a search on Pectus Deformities, you will find alot of helpful info.
Good luck

 
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Old 10-16-2005, 01:12 PM   #3
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Re: Abnormal sternum growth

Thanks supmom...will do the search. I honestly didn't notice this problem until this school year...he always had slightly poor posture, but everything else seemed fine. I hope it can be corrected, if necessary, without surgery. He will hate it though...I think he will fight anything that would keep him out of action (he loves to skateboard and plays the saxophone).

I hope your son is doing better. Was the PE causing him health problems, or was the surgery more for cosmetic purposes? Did you have an orthopedic surgeon?

 
Old 10-17-2005, 05:36 AM   #4
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Re: Abnormal sternum growth

Thanks SRMOM, he had the surgery because of chest pain and shortness of breath or so we thought. Now that his bar has been removed, his chest has gone back to the old shape, sunken, but he is doing so much better (other than breaking his foot).
If you are taking your son to his PCP, I would ask for a referrel to a reputable Pediatric Surgeon for consultation. Depending on where you live some Dr.s will tell you it is only cosmetic and nothing to worry about, some aren't even aware of the deformity. My sons first 9 years of life, we were told he was missing his pec muscle. It wasn't until we had to change Dr.s because of insurance that we actually found out what was going on. So the more info you have once you take him in, the Dr. will know that you have done your homework and won't be so quick to brush it off.
Good luck with your appt and let us know what you find out.
Take care

 
Old 10-17-2005, 07:21 AM   #5
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Re: Abnormal sternum growth

Will your son receive any further corrective procedures?

I've been reading a lot. I guess in some cases, they will surgically flip the strernum, or remove some of the bone/tissue. I wonder if bracing would still be an option at age 16? I'm going to call today to schedule the first consult with his PCP and will tell the nurse it's for Pectus Carinatum...that way the doctor can be prepared when we come in.

We live in northern Calif. and I understand there is a great program for pectus at UCLA...I'm hoping maybe there are doctors a little closer to home, maybe in San Francisco.

Thanks for the encouragement...I'll keep you posted, but it'll be after Nov. 1st when our insurance is effective again (my husband changed jobs so we've been waiting out the insurance probabtionary period).

-SRMom

 
Old 11-07-2005, 12:36 PM   #6
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Re: Abnormal sternum growth

We took my son to a specialist last week. He assured us that the pectus carinatum was not a danger to my son's health in any way. He said it is minor and may straighten out more on it's own. He suggested exercises to build his pectoral muscles, which would lessen the appearance of the protrusion of the breast bone.

 
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