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What is Pectus Excavatum (Shoemaker's Chest)?

Pectus excavatum, also known as a sunken chest, occurs when there is a concavity or indentation in the front part of the chest cavity. This condition is characterized by the inward collapse of the sternum. The collapsing of the chest in this manner can put pressure on the heart and lungs, potentially leading to respiratory issues or heart failure. It can also raise aesthetic concerns and lead to psychosocial problems.

Symptoms of Pectus Excavatum

The symptoms of pectus excavatum can vary from person to person but commonly include:

  • A concavity or indentation in the front part of the chest

  • Difficulty breathing or respiratory problems

  • A sensation of irregularity or pain in the heart

  • Rapid breathing or quick fatigue during exercise

  • Chest pain or discomfort

  • Aesthetic concerns and issues with self-esteem

Treatment Methods for Pectus Excavatum

Treatment options for pectus excavatum may include:

  • Observation and Follow-up: In mild cases of pectus, if symptoms are minimal, only observation and regular follow-up may be necessary.

  • Surgical Intervention (Nuss Procedure): In severe cases of pectus excavatum or when symptoms are significantly present, surgical intervention may be required. The Nuss procedure is the most commonly used surgical method for correcting the chest cavity. During this procedure, a special metal bar or plate is inserted into the chest. This bar or plate helps to push the chest outward and bring the sternum back to its normal position. The recovery phase after surgery is important, and patients often need to restrict their activities for several weeks. For more information:

  • Vacuum Therapy: Vacuum therapy is a non-invasive treatment method used to help push the chest outward. In this method, a special vacuum device is used to apply negative pressure to the chest cavity. This negative pressure pulls the sternum outward and helps correct the indentation.

The suitable treatment option for each patient should be determined based on the severity of symptoms and the patient's overall health condition. Therefore, it is important for individuals displaying symptoms of pectus excavatum to consult a healthcare professional.

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