Bone, Joint and Muscle Conditions

Pectus Carinatum Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of Pectus Carinatum

In pectus carinatum, the cartilage that holds the ribs to the breastbone pushes out from the chest, causing it to bow outward. You might notice pectus carinatum when your child is a baby, but it often isn’t noticeable until a child gets older. It might get more obvious as your child grows, particularly during growth spurts. Pectus carinatum treatment can make your child’s chest shape look normal again.

In most children, the problem is the same on both sides of the breastbone. Occasionally, children have the problem with only one side. Rarely, some children have it in only one spot in the chest, where the cartilage is bowed out.

Pectus carinatum usually doesn’t cause any symptoms. When it does, pain is the most common symptom. This pain might occur when a child moves awkwardly or lies down the wrong way. Sometimes, it happens if your child is hit while playing sports.

Pectus Carinatum Diagnosis

During your first visit to Seattle Children’s, the doctor will examine your child and ask you about any symptoms. Because we have seen hundreds of children with pectus carinatum, we rarely need X-rays to diagnose it. This saves your child from being exposed to radiation.

Contact Us

To learn more about pectus carinatum treatment at Seattle Children’s, call our General and Thoracic Surgery Department at 206-987-2794.