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How To Diagnose Pectus Carinatum & What Is The Best Medicine For It?

Diagnosis of Pectus carinatum is by examining the chest through the x-ray to see how the breastbone is growing.1

Imaging tests like CT scan help to determine the severity of the condition and help with planning the operation.2

For the last 50 years, surgery has been regarded as the best therapy for pectus carinatum treatment.3,4

How To Diagnose Pectus Carinatum?

Your kid’s healthcare provider can diagnose the deformity during a physical examination. The chest is a conical shaped organ, an airtight protective compartment made of several cartilages. The human body is composed of 24 ribs in total, out of which 7 of them are initial ribs that comprise the cartilages attached to the sternum. There are several possible causes of this condition and each can be presented under different scenarios.

The most frequent presentation is a growth spurt during the adolescent stage. In some cases, the outward growth of the cartilages is rapid, and the child undergoes emotional turmoil. The doctor reviews the medical history of the patients and does a complete examination of the chest. 1There are several pre-operative diagnostic tests to help confirm the diagnosis of this abnormality.

X-Ray- It is one of the most common diagnostic procedures to show the sternal protrusion of the ribs. In patients with pectus excavatum, the heart is slightly displaced because of abnormal positioning of the sternum. Pectus makes the ribs change shape and they are no longer in C-shape. Chest x-ray show symmetric lung volumes with a significant increase in density confirming the presence of pectus carinatum.

Electrocardiogram/Echocardiogram – People with respiratory infections often require an electrocardiogram to check the pulmonary artery function. Your doctor will request this diagnostic test to see if the patient has a curvature of the spine.

Computed Tomography (CT) Or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scans– This uses radio waves to capture images in the heart. Use this test your doctor will determine the right choice of treatment for your abnormality.

Pulmonary Function Test (Spirometry)- To measure how much air you breathe in your lungs and to check your lung function. Spirometry also checks if the patient is suffering from other disorders such as asthma or any other lung disease.2

What Is The Best Medicine For Pectus Carinatum?

Bracing is a very safe procedure for correcting the deformity. A few patients have irritation on the skin when the body is in contact with the braces. When the patient experience irritation, your healthcare provider suggests using braces. They even help to adjust the braces during a doctor’s visit.

Several people who underwent surgery are happy with the way their chest looks irrespective of the procedure used. Latest studies have shown that temporarily freezing the nerves can block the pain and help with recovery. This can even decrease postoperative pain in less than 6 weeks.3, 4

Pectus excavatum (PE), the most widespread skeletal abnormality of the chest wall, occasionally necessitates a surgical alteration. The malformation is characterized by a protruding breastbone and ribs due to the excessive growth of cartilage muscles.

Most cases of pectus carinatum are noticed in adolescents and young children that can occur as a congenital anomaly or in association with other conditions such as down syndrome and other genetic disorders. The severity of the condition increases with age and particularly with growth spurts.


  1. “Pectus Carinatum.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 Oct. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pectus-carinatum/symptoms-causes/syc-20355531
  2. “Pectus Carinatum: Diagnosis & Treatments: How is pectus carinatum diagnosed? Boston Children’s Hospital.” Boston Childrens Hospital, www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/p/pectus-carinatum/testing-and-diagnosis.
  3. Rimessi, Arianna, et al. “Therapeutical Options in Pectus Carinatum in Young Patients.” Pediatric Medicine, AME Publishing Company, 25 May 2019, https://pm.amegroups.com/article/view/4840/html
  4. Jung, Joonho, et al. “Brace Compression for Treatment of Pectus Carinatum.” The Korean Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Korean Society for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Dec. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3530724

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 28, 2021

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