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Patient Information

Chest Wall Conditions and Treatments

As one of the region’s busiest chest wall centers, WakeMed has decades of expertise treating a wide range of chest wall deformities in both children and adults. Our collaborative team approach is designed to provide patients and families with the education and resources needed to make an informed decision — and to support you every step of the way.

Conditions We Treat

We provide a broad range of non-invasive and surgical options to treat chest wall deformities. From the most common conditions to the most complex cases, our team has the expertise to deliver the highest quality care available.

Some common conditions we treat include:

  • Pectus Excavatum the most common chest wall deformity, with sternum (breastbone) indentation causing partial compression of the heart and/or lungs. We offer surgical treatment (Nuss procedure, modified Ravitch procedure) as well as nonoperative management for younger children (German vacuum bell).
  • Pectus Carinatum the second-most common deformity, with breastbone protrusion causing chest wall pain. We offer surgical treatment (modified Ravitch procedure) as well as nonoperative management (external compression bracing).
  • Currarino-Silverman Syndrome (also called Pectus Arcuatum)  — we offer surgical treatment with a modification of the Ravitch procedure (as described by Jean-Marie Wihlm of Strasbourg, France), with the placement of small titanium plates to stabilize the sternum.
  • Poland's Syndrome — we offer surgical treatment with the design and creation of custom-made titanium ribs and/or breastbone. We collaborate with adult cardiothoracic surgeons (Boulton, Maier, and Harr) and an experienced plastic surgeon, if breast reconstruction also needed.
  • Acquired Asphyxiating Thoracic Dystrophy — (also called acquired Jeune's syndrome) — a rare condition that affects the bones and can cause a small chest and short ribs — which can lead to life-threatening breathing difficulties. We offer surgical treatment with either hybrid-type Nuss/Ravitch procedure or sternal split with rib graft interposition.
  • Congenital Rib Abnormalities — such as variations in the number, size, and shape of the ribs.
  • Slipping Rib Syndrome — a rare condition that occurs when the cartilage on a person’s lower ribs slips and/or moves.
  • Gynecomastia — a common condition in males that causes breast tissue to swell.
  • Re-do repairs of any of the above (individualized to each of our patients).

Treatments We Offer

  • Chest Wall Surgery — Our experts offer a wide variety of chest wall surgeries for children and adults to treat a wide range of chest wall deformities. Common procedures include:
    • Nuss Procedure
    • Modified Ravitch Procedure
    • Hybrid Procedure
    • Sternal Split with Rib Graft Interpositions
    • Robicsek Procedure
    • Chest Wall Reconstruction (for complex conditions/cases)
  • Thoracic Surgery — Many of the conditions we treat require a customized plan and, in some cases, a surgical procedure designed specifically to address the patient’s condition.
  • Treatment for Gynecomastia
  • External Bracing (for pectus carinatum)
  • Vacuum Bell (for pectus excavatum)
  • Treatment for Recurrent Chest Wall Problems