close   X

chest wall malformations center

The pediatric surgery team at Dayton Children's Hospital has the experience and skill to treat children and adolescents with chest wall conditions, like pectus carinatum and pectus excavatum. We specialize in both surgical and non-surgical treatment options including the Nuss procedure, vacuum bell therapy and non-surgical bracing technology. Depending on the diagnosis and severity of your child's chest wall malformation, treatment can typically start as early as 10 years of age. Our team is committed to delivering personalized care, tailored to meet the unique need of each patient.

what conditions are treated in the chest wall malformations center?

  • Pectus carinatum: A genetic disorder of the chest wall that makes the chest bulge out. This happens because of an unusual growth of rib and breastbone (sternum) cartilage. The bulging gives the chest a birdlike appearance. The condition is sometimes called pigeon breast or pigeon chest.
  • Pectus excavatum: Pectus excavatum is a genetic disorder. Although kids are born with it, it may not be noticeable for the first few years or sometimes even until the teenage years. Mild cases might be barely noticeable.
  • Slipping rib syndrome: A condition where one of the ribs in the chest moves or slips out of place. This can cause pain and discomfort in the upper abdomen, chest or back. This syndrome is caused by weakness or damage to the ligaments that hold the ribs in place.












how do I know if my child has a chest wall malformation?

As children enter their adolescent years, chest wall malformations can become more noticeable. If your child's chest appears caved in or is bulging outward, they may have a chest wall malformation. The best way to know for sure is to schedule an appointment with a pediatric surgeon for evaluation and testing.

Common symptoms of chest wall malformations can include:

  • Hollowed depressions in the chest that can be symmetrical or irregular.
  • Bulging or pushed-out chest
  • Curvature of the spine or absence of the curve of the upper back
  • Hooked shoulders and a broad thin chest.
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath during exercise.
  • Chest pain
  • Poor self-esteem or body image worsened by bullying or teasing.

Many children don't have physical pain or symptoms, but they might be bothered by the appearance of their chest and would like it corrected to boost their self-confidence.

Chest wall statistics



schedule an appointment

will my child need surgery?

Not all children will need surgery to treat their chest wall malformation. When possible, our specialists use effective nonsurgical treatment options including vacuum bell therapy for pectus excavatum and bracing technology for pectus carinatum, which is always non-surgical.

If your child does need surgery, our surgeons have expertise in the Nuss procedure, the "gold standard" of care for children with moderate to severe pectus excavatum. By using this minimally invasive method along with cryoablation pain management, our patients experience less pain, faster recovery and better results.

Learn more about the surgical experience for pectus excavatum.

what happens if my child's chest wall malformation is left untreated?

Pectus excavatum is not usually a life-threatening condition; however, symptoms tend to get worse as individuals get older. In severe cases of pectus excavatum, compression of the heart and lungs can occur if left untreated. This can result in fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, exercise limitations and a fast heartbeat.

Chest wall malformations can also affect an individual's mental health. Children and adolescents with these conditions often struggle with self-esteem and body image issues. They tend to lack confidence and will avoid situations that may expose their chest. In addition, children with chest wall malformations are also more likely to be a victim of bullying. All these issues combined can result in depression and/or anxiety.

why choose the chest wall malformations center at Dayton Children's?

Arturo Aranda, MD, FACS, CPE, division chief of pediatric surgery, started the chest wall malformation center at Dayton Children's Hospital when he noticed an obvious need in the community for advanced chest wall reconstruction.

"In order to provide the exceptional care our patients deserve; I knew I needed to get the most updated and advanced equipment and techniques," said Dr. Aranda. As a result, a multidisciplinary approach was developed with cryoablation and minimally invasive techniques. 

The benefits offered by the chest wall malformation center at Dayton Children's include"

  • Specialized training and expertise: All of our pediatric surgeons and nurse practitioners have specialized training and expertise in treating chest wall malformations in children. Our providers perform thorough evaluations to determine the nature and severity of your child's chest wall malformation.
  • A new approach to pain management: By using cryoablation for pain management, patients will be virtually pain-free following surgery with minimal use of opioids or other traditional pain medications and decreases their inpatient stay at the hospital.
  • Individualized physical therapy plan: Patients meet with a physical therapist before, during and after surgery.
  • After-surgery care: After surgery, we will work closely with you and your child to manage pain, monitor progress and provide ongoing support and guidance throughout their recovery journey.

Our mission is to provide our patients and families with exceptional care, support and education to achieve the best possible outcomes.

If your child is affected by a chest wall malformation, schedule an appointment with any one of our experienced surgeons.

schedule an appointment

schedule an appointment

Appointments in the chest wall malformations center are available without a physician referral.

schedule now