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What Is Pectus Carinatum?

Pectus carinatum (PECK-tuss care-uh-NAW-tum) is a condition in which a child's breastbone (sternum) and rib cartilage stick out from their chest. Pectus carinatum is sometimes called "pigeon chest" because the chest is bowed out and can look a bit like a bird's breast. The condition may be mild, moderate or severe.

Pectus Carinatum in Children

Pectus carinatum affects about 1 in 1,500 children. It is more common in boys than girls. It can run in families, but most often only one person in a family is affected.

Pectus Carinatum at Seattle Children’s

We treat many children with pectus carinatum at Children's. We see several dozen children with pectus carinatum every year. Many of these children need no treatment. Others who do need treatment don't require surgery. For children who do need an operation, our surgeons have extensive experience performing the procedure to correct pectus carinatum.

When you come to Children’s, you have a team of people to care for your child before, during and after surgery. Along with your child’s surgeon, you are connected with nurses, child life specialists, social workers and others. We work together to meet all of your child’s health needs and help your family through this experience.

Since 1907, Children’s has been treating children only. Our team members are trained in their fields and also in meeting the unique needs of children. For example, the doctors who give our patients anesthesia are board certified in pediatric anesthesiology. This means they have extra years of training in how to take care of kids. Our child life specialists know how to help children understand their illnesses and treatments in ways that make sense for their age. Our expertise in pediatrics truly makes a difference for our patients and families.

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

Should your child see a doctor?

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Summer 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Understanding the Power and Influence of Role Models
  • Legal Marijuana Means Greater Poisoning Risks for Children
  • Why Choose Pediatric Emergency Care?

Download Summer 2014 (PDF)