A chest wall deformity is a structural abnormality of the chest that can range from mild to severe. Chest wall deformities occur when the cartilage that connects the ribs grows unevenly. It is not clear why this happens, but the condition tends to run in families.
The two most common types of chest wall deformity are:
- Pectus excavatum, also known as funnel chest or concave chest, occurs when the breastbone pushes inward. Children with this type of deformity appear to have sunken chests. Pectus excavatum is the most common type of chest wall deformity, affecting 1 out of every 300 to 400 children and three times as many boys as girls.
- Pectus carinatum, also known as pigeon chest or raised chest, is a condition where the breastbone and ribs protrude. For some children, both sides of the chest stick out, but for others, one side of the chest may protrude more than the other side. The condition affects about 1 in every 1,500 children and is more common in boys than girls.