Living with Pectus Carinatum: Meet Our Patients

Pediatric Surgery

Living with Pectus Carinatum: Meet Our Patients

Pectus carinatum causes a child's sternum and rib cartilage protrude from the chest. In some cases, a custom-fitted compression brace can be used in much the same way as orthodontic braces work for crooked teeth, pushing the chest wall back into its normal position. The brace must be worn as often as possible, with children removing it only for showering/bathing and athletic activity. Most children will need to wear the brace for six to 20 months.

What's it like living with pectus carinatum and dealing with the brace? Let Pediatric Chest Wall Clinic patients Amelia, Madeline, Matthias and Chad tell you.


Amelia is a 10-year-old with pectus carinatum who began bracing in June 2016, and wore her brace 23 hours per day. Her chest was quite flexible at the initiation of bracing, and by her two-month follow-up appointment, Amelia's carinatum had completely corrected. For the next seven months, Amelia was in "retainer mode," wearing the brace eight hours per day, usually at night. She completed bracing March 9, 2017, after nine months in the brace.


Maddy is a 16-year-old with pectus carinatum who began bracing in July 2016, and wore her brace 23 hours per day. Maddy required custom padding to provide comfort and apply adequate pressure to the carinatum due to its location. Maddy's input was very helpful in providing guidance for brace adjustments, and her carinatum was corrected by March 2017. She is currently in retainer mode, and we expect that her total brace treatment will be less than 12 months.


Matthias is a 16-year-old with pectus carinatum who began bracing in June 2016. He had a three-centimeter carinatum at the beginning of treatment, and wore his brace 23 hours per day. At his one-month follow-up appointment he was almost totally corrected. He began retainer mode in August 2016. In November 2016, he began "weaning" from the brace, wearing it every other night at first and then progressively less over the next two months. By March 2017 he had completed bracing after a total bracing time of nine months.


Chad is a 20-year-old with pectus carinatum, who first came to our clinic in 2013 at age 16. His carinatum was one-centimeter high at this time. He discontinued bracing after several months, due to lack of compliance. He returned to our clinic in 2016 at age 19 because of carinatum growth to 2.5 centimeters and pain. He was refitted for a new brace and began treatment in June 2016. He has been wearing the brace for 18 hours per day for the past nine months and his carinatum now measures .5 centimeters. At the time of this interview, he was still undergoing active bracing.