Congenital chest wall deformities are anomalies in chest wall growth. These can be the inadequate, or overgrowth of the rib cage (aplasia or dysplasia). Rib cage overgrowth results in the depression of the sternum which is the centrally located bone over the chest or protuberance of the sternum, and accounts for more than 90% of chest wall deformities that are present at birth. The other deformities are mostly results of poor chest bone growth.
Pectus excavatum also known as funnel chest is the most common abnormality of the chest wall. Pectus anomalies are usually evident early in life and are three times more common in boys than in girls. Here surgical repair is only advised if the problem is very severe or if the patient has very low self-esteem.
Pectus carinatum is the second most common abnormality of the chest wall. The body of the sternum and adjacent costal cartilages which means the rib cage protrude, creating a defect similar to a pigeon’s breast. Other chest wall anomalies associated with this defect are sternal fusion defects and cardiac defects.
No specific cause is identified, but there is an association with other skeletal abnormalities such as scoliosis which is bent back along with the backbone called vertebral column medically. Most patients with scoliosis usually don’t show any symptoms.