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I Have Pectus Excavatum

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posted on Dec, 17 2010 @ 05:59 AM
Early this year I met with my local GP after I noticed there was something different about me, or more specifically, my chest. I’m not entirely sure how it came to my attention but I think it may have been after either my school friends or my parents saw me without a shirt on, and pointed it out.

I suppose at this point I should probably explain what it is that I’m talking about.

Pectus Excavatum is a chest wall deformity caused when the cartilage that connects the ribs to the sternum grows in the wrong direction, creating what appears to be an almost comical hole in the chest. The odds of being born with this ‘problem’ are around 1 in 1000 and I’ve been told it is more prevalent in men than women. PE is usually present at birth, but in my case it only developed as I went through the early stages of puberty; pictures of myself as a kid clearly show me with what could be considered a normal chest, but now I have what seems to be a medium-extreme case of PE.

Now being different doesn’t really bother me, I’m already different from everyone else anyway, (for reasons I don’t really feel comfortable going into on an open internet forum) and as for the few people who choose to make fun of me, I simply couldn’t care less. But when I go to the beach or the pool or just get changed at school, there’s always a few people who can’t help but stare, and a few who ask the one question that shouldn’t need to be asked; “what’s wrong with you?”. I’ve dealt with this for most of the year, a new person at school noticing it almost weekly and apparently being amazed by my chest and I’m getting rather sick of it.

I’m sure most of you could understand my desire to ‘fix’ this by now, but this was not the reason I chose to undergo the procedure of having my chest reconstructed. The reason I want it ‘fixed’ is mainly due to the medical issues related to this deformity. There is a long history of heart problems in my family and I also suffer from Asthma which, according to the specialist I am seeing, may be relieved by undergoing the procedure.

‘May’ being the key word.

It is because of this that I have made my decision, though the social benefits are a bonus. I have two options now; The Nuss Procedure, or the Ravitch technique, both of which result in significant pain. The first, the Nuss Procedure, is a minimally invasive surgery which entails two metal bars being inserted into the chest cavity through small cuts in the sides, forcing the ‘hole’ out of my chest. These bars are usually taken out after 2-3 years, but I have been told they may be left in forever, as it does not particularly matter. According to the specialist I have seen (who has only conducted the Ravitch technique) these bars provide the same amount of flexibility as the ribs themselves and do not inhibit movement at all. I am seeing this man’s colleague early January, who will hopefully go into more detail, as this is the procedure I have chosen and you’ll understand why in a minute.

The Ravitch technique is far more invasive. It involves cutting down the centre of the chest, and removing all the connecting cartilage to the sternum, and lifting the sternum up, placing it on a metal bar and allowing the cartilage to grow back and attach to the sternum in the right position, usually over a period of 6 months. Though both are apparently excruciating, and the Ravich is more effective, I prefer the first, as any scarring will be on my sides, and thus less obvious.

The funny thing is, in spite of all the stories I’ve heard and videos I’ve watched of people being in really bad pain, that’s not what I’m worried about. The worst thing about this for me is the idea of an epidural. The thought of anything going into my spine is terrifying for me but it is necessary to cope with the pain.

I guess my point in posting this here is to make this my own little journal, and hopefully help anyone who feels uncomfortable about the way they look. I’m eventually going to post ‘before and after’ photos here and any new information or developments that present themselves.

I’m not entirely sure why I decided to post this here, I suppose I just needed to get it off my chest. (Let the face-palms ensue


edit on 17/12/2010 by roswell1 because: (no reason given)

edit on 17/12/2010 by roswell1 because: shutup, that's why

posted on Dec, 17 2010 @ 06:15 AM
Like you said the first option seems much more prefferable. have you asked if you can talk to patients that have had this procedure done? i would, before deciding on anything just yet.

I know you said it is not just cosmetic, but i have read on body building forums before of some people having sucess with building up a fair bit of muscle wich helps conceal this.

In any case what ever you decide, i hope that it goes well. and you are very happy with the out come.

posted on Dec, 17 2010 @ 06:40 AM
Hey Bob, my friend and her brother have had the Nuss procedure, both said it really hurt but I've seen her brother's before/after pictures before and they're really good. I don't think musle will help much with the degree to which I have it, I'll post pictures in a few minutes to show.


posted on Dec, 17 2010 @ 07:01 AM


It goes in about 2.5 inches from the highest point in my chest (mah nips

edit on 17/12/2010 by roswell1 because: he felt like it

posted on Dec, 17 2010 @ 07:18 AM
reply to post by roswell1

To be honest after all the deformity in poeple ive seen (been a volunteer social carer) Yours doesnt seem to obvious, i mean i certainly wouldnt notice it or think anything of it.
I think corrective surgery is of course your best option otherwise you could end up with complications later on in life,

posted on Dec, 17 2010 @ 07:36 AM
Hey Roswell

I have the same condition, I'll be 34 in a few days and have had this all my life, let me tell you that I have had people make fun of this when I was at school, kids noticed when I was getting changed for P.E. They made fun for a while and it got me down for a while. But thats really where the pointing it out stopped. No one ever since has ever really made fun of the way I look, for some friends I've had to point it out for them to notice and thats because noone really gives a crap!
Sure the kids at school made me feel self conscious for a long time and thats why sometimes I feel the need to point it out and explain what its all about because I think thats what people need, a good explaination about my chest in order to accept me as being normal, but its all a waste of time.
Everyone I have told always says "oh ok, so does it hurt?" and I say no and thats the end of that. No one since childhood has ever judged me because I have this dip in my sternum, its much the same as yours in depth, for a while I didn't like going swimming or taking off my shirt in the summer because I thought people would stare at me like the kids did at school for a while. The truth is since then noone noticed until i pointed it out and even then didn't really care. I've had girlfriends that have noticed and some that haven't and in both cases it never impacted on my realtionship in the slightest. I can happily remove my top when down the beach or playing football with the guys, it doesn't bother them and it doesn't bother me anymore.
I'm telling you this because it took quite some time for me to build this confidence and it only came from the realisation that as you grow older so do the people around you including their mentalities. It is nothing to be ashamed of what so ever. The proceedures you described made me wonder whether I would have gone through with it and can say that it doesn't seem worth it to me. Alot of pain for something noone will notice.
I do remember one time last summer when at work, the guys and i would play football at lunchtime in a nearby park. 5 aside skins vs shirts, I was on the skins team and a new guy from work joined us and he pointed it out, I was surprised as this was the first time in 15 years that someone had done that. He pointed it out in a way that was to kinda make fun in front of all the others, he was young about 20 or 21. He said "You've got a funny chest" to which I replied "You've got a funny voice".

Until this day his nickname at work is Squeeker.

Peace Bro


posted on Dec, 17 2010 @ 07:45 AM
haha, I always get asked if it hurts too, it's like asking someone if their ugly hurts

I'm not all that fussed about it personally, people point it out and it doen't really bother me, it's just really annoying having to explain what it is all the time. Majority of the costs will be paid by insurance/the government and everything is ready really. It just comes down to whether I do or don't have it done, as i'm not afraid of either the pain of the procedure nor living with it.

Basically its yes or no, either way doesn't matter to me...

edit on 17/12/2010 by roswell1 because: you're nosy.

posted on Dec, 17 2010 @ 08:25 AM
reply to post by roswell1

Well then that decision lies with you, what are the chances that it could create problems in later life if you don't have the proceedure? You mention a family history of heart problems and asthma, maybe that's what you need to consider. I've never been told that my condition (for want of a better word) would ever cause me problems. Best of luck if you decide to go with it though, I wish you a speedy recovery and would be cool if you kept this thread going with the results.

posted on Dec, 17 2010 @ 11:40 AM
Health first... take care of yours the best that you can.

posted on Dec, 17 2010 @ 02:44 PM
My childhood friend had that.

He showed us that his chest went the other way.

We all thought it was rather cool.

He is 55 now and I don't think he ever had it fixed.

Unless it is a health issue,I would not worry about it.

posted on Dec, 17 2010 @ 07:37 PM
I have this too. Join the club!

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 02:04 AM
WEEEEEEL I had it done. And it hurt. A lot.

Last week was arguably the worst week of my life, the pain swishing quickly between the blissful ecstacy of Katamine injections and undescribably horrible. But after a week of malfunctioning spinal IVs (the name escapes me), catheters of the uncomfortable kind and several days of painful constipation magnified by the need for an enema, I must say it made a huge difference.

I'm happy with the outcome but I have to say for the sake of anyone reading this; the pain is not worth it. There is no way to imagine what it feels like and to be honest the end result for me wasn't worth the endless days of pain. I suppose this depends on how strongly you feel about your looks but since I didn't mind and was basicaly just going along 'because', I would not go back and do it all again, I would just say no.

With (Most of) the pain behind me though I'm very pleased with the results and I suppose if you feel strongly enough about it you'll see this and go through it yourself...


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