Pectus excavatum, also called funnel chest, is the most common congenital anterior chest wall deformity occurring in approximately 1 in 500 live births and is more frequent in boys than in girls (male predominance of 2:1 to 9:1 according to different studies). With pectus excavatum (PEX), the sternum goes inward to form a depression in the chest with a maximum concave depression at the xiphoid process.
The etiology of PEX remains unknown, it is most likely caused by abnormal growth of the costal cartilage junction between the ribs and sternum. Excessive growth of the costal cartilage causes dorsal deviation of the sternum and the fourth to seventh rib with deviations of mediastinal organs. PEX can be associated with connective tissue disorders such as Marfan syndrome
PEX causes a marked cosmetic defect associated with psychological trauma, especially in young patients. In many patients the main complaint is cosmetic problem but the deformity may lead to a functional impairment in the heart or lungs usually progressing with age. Studies have shown that about 15 % of PEX patients have a decreased physical activity due to this deformity.
For several years, Almazov Centre has been successfully performing surgery to correct congenital pectus excavatum in adult patients. Video thoracoscopic treatment of pectus excavatum with the minimally invasive technique yields good cosmetic and functional results without a large incision.
Consulting surgeon Dr. German Nikolaev, Head of Thoracic Surgery Research Laboratory, will advise on the treatment of pectus excavatum.