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Is There A Surgery For Pectus Carinatum & Can I Claim Disability Benefits For It?

Pectus carinatum, sometimes called pigeon chest, is a deformity of the chest wall that can be repaired through surgical treatment.1

Ravitch procedure first described by Dr. MM Ravitch in 1960 is one of the most common surgical procedure that involves an incision to remove the anterior cartilage.2

Pectus carinatum is a non-severe condition however pectus excavatum wins SSDI or SSI when the symptoms are chronic or unable to work for at least 12 continuous months.3,4

Is There A Surgery For Pectus Carinatum?

Is There A Surgery For Pectus Carinatum?

Mild to moderate condition of pectus carinatum produce no symptoms and doesn’t require treatment. However, when there is a posture change, it significantly impacts the child’s emotion leading to depression and anxiety. Correction of pectus carinatum potentially improves the quality of one’s life.

Bracing is the most common form of treatment and has provided good cosmetic results, however in some patients surgery may be needed to provide suitable cosmetic results. Surgical correction is often required when the deviation of the posture is more than 10 pounds per square inch. In other words, when the anterior chest wall requires more compression and where the patient cannot be cured with bracing, surgery is the recommended form of treatment.1

Surgical treatment was first described by Dr. MM Ravitch in 1960 to correct severe pectus carinatum and pectus excavatum. This technique demonstrated proven results in patients between 13-22 years that involve an incision across the chest and the removal of the cartilage that causes the defect.

The first step in this procedure is the mobilization of the pectoralis muscle to allow the exposure of the skeletal structure. The second step involves performing multiple parasternal rib cartilage resections to condense the excessive size that triggers the malformation. The third step is removing or adding a wedge of the breastbone and the final step involves the remodeling and stabilization of the chest wall.

Chest pain is one of the common symptoms after surgery, but postoperative pain management should be a priority to avoid further complications.2

Can I Claim Disability Benefits For Pectus Carinatum?

Everyday activities from sitting and walking to sleeping can put tremendous strain on our spines and chest walls however some pain is severe that is not only painful rather truly disabling at some point in their lives. Pectus disorders can interfere with the ability of the heart and lungs to properly function.

Since the condition is generally diagnosed in childhood, it is intimidating for the parents to determine if the child qualifies for disability. The Social Security Administration has a list of disabilities that are considered as impairments for children. This is also known as Blue Book containing a listing of disabling impairments of both adult and child.

Pectus disorders are not in the listing so your child cannot qualify for SSA benefits however when the condition is very severe (respiratory or heart issues) those are marked as limitations and limits functioning, talk to a disability lawyer who can guide you accordingly.3,4

Pectus carinatum is a breastbone and rib cartilage deformation wherein the chest bone protrudes outwards appearing bow-shaped also called as pigeon chest. A condition that is caused by the abnormality in the connective tissue that holds the ribs to the breastbone.

The condition becomes noticeable when there is a rapid growth during adolescence, the breastbone starts growing as the teen starts growing and there is a prominence of the contusion when the person got older. There will be an imbalance between sides of the ribs with one side sticking out more outward.


  1. “Pectus Carinatum; Symptoms, Causes, Management & Treatment.” Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15790-pectus-carinatum
  2. “The Ravitch Procedure (for Parents) – Nemours KidsHealth.” Edited by Cynthia Reyes-Ferral, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Nov. 2017, kidshealth.org/en/parents/ravitch-procedure.html
  3. “Pectus Excavatum and SSA Disability Benefits.” Disability Benefits Home, How to Rate Pectus Excavatum for Military Disability www.disabilitybenefitshome.com/articles/pectus-excavatum-and-ssa-disability-benefits/
  4. “This Is How to Qualify for Disability with a Spinal Condition.” Disability Benefits Help, www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/spinal-conditions-and-social-security-disability

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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:October 15, 2022

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