What is Pectus Excavatum - Growing up with PE, Causes, Surgery and Exercise
I have pectus excavatum and I'm writing this hub to help people understand what pectus excavatum is, what it involves and my general experience with the chest deformity and its overall effect on daily life.
Pectus Excavatum is the medical name for a chest deformity and is also referred to as pigeon and funnel chest. The chest deformity is distinguished by a sunken sternum accompanied usually with flared ribs. Pectus excavatum will also cause some of your internal organs to be displaced for example your heart could be pushed up or down or more to the left than normal its only when your heart is being obstructed or pushed against that pectus excavatum requires surgical correction.
there is also an opposite type of chest deformity called Pectus Carinatum which is distinguished by a pushed out sternum and chest.
Causes of Pectus Excavatum
There is much speculation into what the real cause of pectus excavatum and real reason is still not known. Some believe it to be poorly coordinated bone structure others believe its overgrowth of bones in birth. Other researched reasons are a lack of zinc and magnesium in bones which could possibly cause them to bend unnaturally.
For me it was simply that my father and his father also had mild pectus excavatum and passed it down to me. I was the only one who got it and it seemed to skip my brother for some reason. So the genetic reason is the most common and if you find you have a slightly sunken sternum someone in your family probably has the same.
Growing up with a Chest Deformity
The most common things people with P.E will experience when growing up is low self esteem and a lack of confidence. This is due to being embarrased to take off your shirt in public as people will often stare at you and think your some sort of freak.
As a young kid I experienced this as the condition made me appear even skinnier than i actually was and made me look qutie malnurished when in fact I ate like a horse and played basketball 3 times a week.
When I think about it , it wasn't that bad you just have to try to not let all the stares bother you and be confident. Who cares if your chest doesn't look like every other sheep:P its unique and if its not giving you any real trouble its something you can definitely live with and be happy.
Severity of the condition
There are three main levels of pectus excavatum these are as you can expect mild, moderate and severe.
Mild - The sternum is sunken only a little bit and sometimes it is barely noticeable the really mild pectus excavatum usually does not involve flared ribs unless the persons posture is poor.
Moderate - The sunken sternum is obvious when shirtless and often accompanied by flared ribs. The mild and moderate P.E often don't cause any trouble for the person unless bordering on severe.
Severe- this level of pectus excavatum usually requires surgery as the sunken sternum can be quite deep and can be putting a lot of pressure on the heart causing poor blood circulation , pain and difficulty breathing.
Avoid the Caveman Look, Improve your Posture
even billy has P.E
Correcting your Pectus Excavatum
Many people opt to have the surgery to repair there P.E condition. The most commonly performed surgery is the NUSS procedure where a bar is inserted in the chest cavity and the bar is made in such a way that it will exert pressure outwardly onto the sternum to push the sternum out to the neutral position. This can be a very painful surgery and can take around 3 years to fully recover so its best to have it at a younger age.
The surgery has been performed for around 15 years now I believe and has been very successful but surgery isn't always the option many people use exercise and other cosmetic methods to improve the appearance of there chest.
Many people head to gym to improve there pectus excavatum appearance but there is a big misconception that using weight exercises will help fill in the sunken sternum as this is technically impossible as there is no muscle around your sternum unless you plan on building a greek god like chest.
The main thing people can work in the gym is a way to improve there postures and strengthen there back muscles ( back muscles will be stretched because of the sunken sternum often causing stretch marks on the back). Correcting your posture at the gym or out of the gym will go along way to improving your appearance because as posture improves your ribs and sternum will slowly begin returning to a normal position.
Be sure to check out my other hubs on Pectus Excavatum Repair , It has a list of exercises with specific details and images to help you improve your chest appearance. Show me the exercises, Part 1. & Part 2
Other correction methods
Vacuum Bell - the vacuum bell is a device used to help the appearance of pectus excavatum by using air pressure to pull the sunken sternum outwards. Billy zane was known to use this device before a photo shoot it works by place a large bell like bowl over your chest then slowly increasing the air pressure inside to pull the sternum forward.
Silicon Insert - Many people use skin colored silicon inserts to cover there sunken sternums to make clothing appear more natural.
Brace/Corset - A posture vest or corset can be used to correct your posture as well as bring in those flared ribs.
Until next time :)
That's it for now a basic overview I will publish some more hubs soon on
- Exercises to help your chest deformity (specific exercises to try)
and - Pectus excavatum surgery ( discuss surgery options, real cases e.g) A good website discussing surgery options and issurance cover is www.pectuslist.com it also has an updated list of doctors that perform P.E surgery around the world.
- Pectus List - chest deformity help
PECTUS LIST - Find a Pectus Doctor on our Pectus Doctor Databse - Surgery Nuss Procedure Booklet ,Insurance Pectus Excavatum, tips and help getting insurance cover for pectus carinatum or pectus excavatum, pectus correction exercises, appeals, surger
Lots of other Pectus Excavatum related HUBS
- Pectus Excavatum Repair Part 1
This hub is about pectus excavatum repair and I will share some exercises and things you can do to improve the appearance of your chest wall without going for the surgery option. As the surgery can take a...
- Pectus Excavatum Repair Part 2
This is Part 2 a continuation from Pectus Excavatum Repair part 1 and this hub will discuss specific exercises you can try to help your pectus excavatum condition.The main question in managing pectus...
- Pectus Excavatum Surgery
Pectus Excavatum Surgery covers the nuss procedure, plastic surgery options, and helps you choose the right surgeon and get insurance cover for your PE surgery
- Pectus Excavatum Surgery Introduction
Pectus excavatum is a chest disorder that effects approximately one in every 1000 people. The deformity is easily recognized by the concave , funnel shaped chest. The sunken sternum can apply pressure on...
- Pectus Excavatum Surgery Procedure
This hub will a continuation from my last hub which was an introduction into pectus excavatum surgery this hub will go into the detail of the actual surgery procedure including graphic images. 1. The first...
- Pectus Excavatum Insurance & Surgery Tips
Im currently running a website on Pectus Excavatum and also have the Pectus Excavatum chest deformity and a lot of people ask me for tips on getting insurance cover as well as how to approach the whole...
- Pectus Excavatum PostOperative Care
This hub will go through the details of post operative care. The things you should do after having the surgery to speed up recovery and to get the full benefit of the pectus excavatum surgery. Patients...
- Pectus List Blog and Information Centre
Pectus list, all things related to Pectus Excavatum and Carinatum, articles on P.E correction through exercise and surgery. As well as tips on finding the right doctor as well as the pectuslist , list of doctors in the world performing pectus excavatum
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