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Chest wall deformities are structural abnormalities in the chest. While present since birth, chest wall deformities might not become noticeable until children hit their adolescent growth spurt.
The most common chest wall deformity, pectus excavatum, is a sunken breastbone that can be repaired with surgery. Another deformity, pectus carinatum, causes the breastbone to protrude out. It is typically treated with bracing. A third, difficult-to-diagnose condition, is slipped rib syndrome. This occurs when cartilage grows abnormally and the ribs rub together, causing nerve pain. Medical and surgical options can be used to treat slipped rib syndrome.
On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, a special edition of "Ask the Mayo Mom" focuses on chest wall deformities in children. Dr. Angela Mattke a Mayo Clinic pediatrician and host of "Ask the Mayo Mom" is joined by Dr. Denise Klinkner, a pediatric surgeon and practice chair of the Division of Pediatric Surgery at Mayo Clinic, and Dr. Stephanie Polites, who is also a pediatric surgeon at Mayo Clinic Children’s Center.