Drs: Birth Defect Causes Sunken Chest + Pectus Excavatum

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The Drs: Birth Defect Causes Sunken Chest

The Doctors shared that there are more than 4,000 different types of birth defects and while some don’t need any treatment at all, others can cause major medical problems. Angela shared that she was born with pectus excavatum, which her mother started to notice as she got older. She started to notice an indent in her daughter’s chest. She can only wear certain outfits and doesn’t like to wear low-cut shirts. When she was a teenager, she was especially bothered in the summer when she would wear bathing suits. She even had a boyfriend tell her that she was weird and no one would like her because of her chest.

Drs: Birth Defect Causes Sunken Chest + Pectus Excavatum

The Doctors heard from a young woman with a birth defect that causes her chest to be severely sunken in. (Christopher Edwin Nuzzaco / Shutterstock.com)

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Angela’s chest started to get deeper and what became the only option for her was a major operation where they would break her ribs, then go in and turn her chest bone around, before letting it heal that way. Angela wasn’t willing to take that option. One doctor recently noticed the hole in Angela’s chest and said it was the deepest he had ever seen.

Sometimes Angela finds it difficult to breathe and she’s worried it could cause health problems in her future.

The Drs: What Is Pectus Excavatum?

The Doctors welcomed Angela and her mom Pat to the show. The Doctors shared that one in 500 people have pectus excavatum but for Angela, it’s not just about the fact that her chest is sunken in, but the fact that it’s pressing on her internal organs and affecting her ability to breathe. It’s pushing her lungs to the side and even pushing on her heart, so it’s an extreme case.

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Pat said that she’s especially worried about her daughter, and that’s why they wrote in to the show. The Doctors were joined over the phone by a doctor from the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters. Dr Frazier Frantz explained that they repair the deformity by placing a steel bar that will straighten the sternum from the inside. The bar remains in place for two to three years to make sure that the chest wall has completely remodeled and is permanent. It will relieve the pressure on her heart and lungs right there in the operating room.

Angela said it was the first time she heard about the procedure, and she reached out to the show in hopes they would be able to give them more options. The good news is that she’s a candidate for the surgery, so the hospital has agreed to waive her fee for the surgery.

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