ROWAN BERKOWITZ BLOG

Can Pigeon Chest Be Treated?

If you’ve just learned that your child has Pectus carinatum (PC, or pigeon chest), your next question will be, can Pigeon Chest be treated? 

Pigeon Chest (PC or Pectus carinatum) is a chest wall deformity, more common in adolescent males. The condition becomes more noticeable during growth spurts or puberty when the middle of the chest starts to stick out, often one side sticking out more than the other. 

Although the condition is mainly cosmetic, some children and adolescents may experience symptoms and side effects from pectus carinatum. 

Standard treatment for pectus carinatum in children with mild to moderate conditions is orthotic bracing, where a low profile custom-made chest brace gets fitted on the outside of the chest. 

A child’s health is not affected by PC in most cases, and treatment with a chest orthotics tends to have good results.

Treatment Using a Chest Orthosis

Pigeon Chest (PC) is unlikely to get better by itself. 

Using a chest orthosis, also known as a chest brace, is a common treatment for children with PC. The brace will help correct the shape of their chest wall using gentle compression. 

Medical News Today says, “The outlook for children with Pectus Carinatum is excellent with the use of a chest brace. Braces are often effective in reversing the outward appearance of the sternum.”

There are two main stages of orthosis treatment: the corrective and maintenance phase, to be prescribed as needed. Your Orthotist will walk your child through everything from showing your child how to wear and adjust the brace appropriately.  

Progress of the treatment will be reviewed by appointment using 3D scanning; it is quick and does not use radiation or harmful energy beams.

Your Orthotist will make adjustments to the brace as required. 

Following the removal of the chest brace, your child will have an orthotic review with 3D scanning to review and ensure that their chest is stable.

Chest Braces Are Custom-Made To Fit 

Should your child need treatment and a chest brace, it will be custom-made to fit them by a certified Orthotist. The Orthotist will custom-fit your child’s brace and worn as prescribed until the chest has flattened, staying in position by itself. 

Gone are the days of wearing chest braces that are uncomfortable, bulky, and embarrassing. Nowadays, the braces available are technologically advanced, comfortable to wear, and tailored to each patient’s curve profile and body shape. 

Feeling slight pressure while wearing the chest brace is expected and normal; however, if your child feels pain while wearing the orthosis, you should contact your Orthotist. 

Pectus Carinatum and Body Image

Pigeon Chest can impact some children’s social life or self-esteem because it affects the shape of their chest. Some teens with PC (Pigeon Chest), may be unhappy with their bodies, which can significantly impact their lives. Even though PC isn’t causing physical difficulties for your child, healthcare professionals may recommend non-surgical treatment to improve self-esteem and quality of life. 

Talk to your healthcare professional if you’re worried about your child’s self-esteem and well-being. Non-surgical treatment is available to treat PC using a chest orthosis brace. 

Is The Brace Noticeable Under Clothes? 

Most teens who wear a chest brace do very well and are happy with the results. 

If your child is embarrassed or worried about wearing their brace in public, they don’t need to worry too much. Chest braces have been designed to be thin and usually won’t be noticeable when worn underneath a shirt.

Your child can wear their brace under or over their clothes, whichever way they feel most comfortable. 

The Best Way to Treat the Condition is Early.

Pectus Carinatum often worsens as a child grows, particularly when the child reaches puberty. Medical practitioners will often tell patients that treating PC (Pectus Carinatum) is unnecessary, but in most cases, the psychological effects of the deformity would justify treatment. 

Using a chest brace as a treatment for PC is less effective for young adults. If caught early enough, mild or moderate cases of Pigeon Chest are treatable using a chest brace. Bracing is most effective during a child’s growth spurt or while your child is in early puberty. So, the best way to treat the condition is Early!