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Old 03-01-2011, 11:49 AM   #1
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Dip in Chest

Hi. I am a young woman in my twenties living in the Caribbean. I have a caved in sternum. No doctor has ever said anything about it to me. I thought it was just something I have to live with. I always thought it was something caused by bad posture and the fact that when I was younger I had to carry a heavy school bag and climb this hill every day to get to school. I believed it was caused from having to everyday curve my shoulder to support the bag.

Today I just had the inclination to search for it online. I have never seen anyone else with it so I am very self conscious of it. Until today I did not know about Pectus Excavatum. Have not stopped crying since reading about it. I do not feel any pain, slight breathing problem but nothing to be alarmed about. I have not seen any recent posts concerning this.

I would just like someone who knows about it to respond to this and tell me about any treatments for it both surgical and non-surgical.

Thank you

 
Old 03-01-2011, 04:36 PM   #2
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Re: Dip in Chest

A friend's son had this condition and had the surgery for it at Children's hospital in Norfolk, VA. The surgeon who invented the procedure is there (at least, I think that's the location). He was about 14 when he had the pricedure and had the hardware removed about 18 months later. Has done very well. You would need to see a thoracic surgeon or orthopedic surgeon for more information on this condition and corrective measures.

 
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:37 PM   #3
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Re: Dip in Chest

Starry,

We have had some posts about this that I can remember, one from a boy I remember well, because he was also very self conscious and embarrassed, especially because of having to participate in sports in school.

I do not know if surgical options are called for in your case, or if it may be something you have to learn to accept. Either way, I know we all have things about us that are not to our liking, and have to be dealt with using a positive attitude and great amounts of self acceptance.

I imagine that with the warm climate in the Caribbean, hiding under clothes is not a good option. How do you deal with this as far as clothes go?

I actually have a dear friend from childhood who lived with the same malady, and everyone loved this kid because he was a great person. Once we get to know each other, all of out differences fade away, and only the true beauty shines through. This is what I bet your friends think of you.

While I do not have any expertise in the area, I do have great empathy for your situation. I wanted to post just to let you know that you are not alone, and I hope you find the answers you are looking for.

Janet

 
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:58 PM   #4
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Re: Dip in Chest

Hi Sometimes they do several tests first, such as a chest x-ray, CT scan , pulmonary function test, a Haller index, cardiology exams such as the auscultation and ECG, echocardiogram. If the condition is mild they might have a corset like supporting vest for it. There are also Dermal fillers that are cosmetic only and will not alleviate symptoms with it. There is a vacuum bell device which is a bowl shaped device they put over it and pump the air out of it by hand which shifts the sternum up but there is no information on how long this treatment lasts.

Another treatment uses 2 magnets to realign the sternum with the rest of the chest and ribcage. Another thing sometimes done is the Nuss procedure in which they they slip a concave steel bar underneath the sternum, the bar stays between 2-5 years. When the bones have solidified in the new postition the bar is removed through an outpatient surgery. There is another called the Ravitch procedure bar which is inserted after an incision is made, the sternum is detatched and the cartilage removed and a bar inserted until the cartilage grows back in about 6 months, then the bar is removed at an outpatient procedure. That last procedure is not widely done because it is so invasive. The name of the problem Pectus Excavatum can be put into a search window to see x-rays and perhaps more information about it. How deep is it? Are there any heart murmurs? Hope this helps.

Last edited by sjb; 03-01-2011 at 05:01 PM. Reason: typo at post

 
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:23 AM   #5
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Re: Dip in Chest

Thank you so much for taking time to reply. I truly appreciate it. I am investigating non-surgical options for now. Once again, thank you.

 
Old 03-07-2011, 10:40 AM   #6
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Re: Dip in Chest

Hi. Thank you for responding to my post. I have a wonderful group of family and friends in my life so there was never a problem with that. I do not think they understand it and I just started to learn about it myself.

Clothing is not really a problem. Some styles I choose not to wear though.

They only sad thing is that I have stopped going to the beach which I enjoy.

Thank you again and God bless.

 
Old 03-07-2011, 10:55 AM   #7
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Re: Dip in Chest

Thank you Sjb. This information is very helpful. I am doing some more investigating because as I understand, this condition is unusual in black people. However, I do feel better the more I read about it.

I am looking into exercises and nutrition for now.

Thank you. Much appreciated.

 
Old 03-07-2011, 10:58 AM   #8
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Re: Dip in Chest

Hi you are welcome! I wish you the best. Peace.

 
Old 03-07-2011, 11:05 AM   #9
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Re: Dip in Chest

Hi I suppose if embarrassment is the difficulty and not so much breathing, a cotton or other natural fiber such as linen or silk prosthetic device might be sown together to fill the concavity, if done right there would be no visible lumps when clothes are put on. I would not use synthetic materials for health reasons.

 
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