Although chest wall conditions are actually quite common in children, Children’s National’s team of pediatric specialists have the experience to accurately diagnose the condition and understand how treatment affects a child who is still growing.
The Chest Wall Defects Program brings together a multidisciplinary team to treat children with these conditions, including pectus excavatum (a Latin term meaning hollowed chest) and pectus carinatum, sometimes called "pigeon breast".
Personal Care for Every Patient
The Chest Wall Defects Program brings together a multidisciplinary team to ensure that every child receives personalized care from a team of specialists in:
Patients and families are also supported by physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, and social workers who ensure that each child receives personalized care that best meets their individual needs.
To diagnose chest wall defects, we use the most advanced technology — including echocardiogram, CT Scan (computerized tomography), and pulmonary function tests. Our specialists have the expertise to interpret the results of these tests, and recommend the best course of action for each individual patient.
There are many effective treatment options depending on your child’s age and severity of condition, and we work with you to develop a treatment and care plan for your child. We help patients and their families plan for treatment, prepare for surgery when it is necessary, and coordinate postoperative care.
Selecting a Treatment
After a surgical evaluation, the team consults with you and your child to select the best treatment – surgery or a chest wall brace.
When surgery is necessary, our team will guide you through every step of the process - from preparation for the surgery to follow-up care after surgery has been performed.
If a chest wall brace is appropriate, the team works with the family and child to get the right brace fitted the right way and help the child stick to the regime of wearing the brace 14 to 23 hours a day.
The specialists develop a program of regular visits with program surgeons who monitor your child’s progress, and physical therapists who help patients recover completely from surgery. The pediatric surgeons will remove the chest bars when the treatment is complete.