Pectus Carinatum in Females – 2022 Treatment, Anxiety, Clothing & More

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Most females are hesitant to openly discuss chest wall deformities such as pectus carinatum.

Only a few pieces of information and stories are available on the internet regarding pectus carinatum in females. This makes it harder for females to find a solution for their deformity, which can cause anxiety and depression.

I am passionate about helping those who struggle the most, primarily because of insufficient information on the web.

Female Community Motivation

As people with pectus deformities, we must motivate our community to find appropriate online support, especially for women.

Knowing that inborn abnormalities are more common in men makes it more difficult for women to receive adequate help. Almost all of the information is focused on men.

Introduction to Pectus Carinatum in Women

Pectus carinatum, like pectus excavatum, is one of the most widespread abnormalities of the chest.

The exact cause of these chest deformities is unexplained totally. The earlier reason was a poor diet deficient in vitamins D and C, Ca metabolites (rickets), followed by illnesses and diseases of the respiratory system with chronic and continuous cough.

It is unclear whether or not chest malformations are hereditary regarding genetics. According to the statistics, every fourth patient has a family history, indicating an inherited tendency. Experts said that the deformity is congenital because of a high percentage of family disposition.

Pectus carinatum (PC) is a deformity characterized by anterior chest wall protrusion.

It’s ten times less common than pectus excavatum.

It grows gradually and is more common in men. But, women are no exception.

There are two types: the lower, the more prevalent, and the upper. 

Asymmetrical Pectus Carinatum in Females

Abnormalities on only one side of the chest might occur. When one side of the bone is lifted above the chest, the bulge might be bilateral or unilateral.

It does not exist at birth. The condition is found in children between the ages of three and four. The deformity worsens as the youngster grows and develops. The deformity is the most commonly diagnosed during routine school assessments in children aged 11 to 15, but it can also occur at birth.

Diagnostics

Before you visit your doctor, you may already know that your chest looks different from a regular-shaped chest. You probably made the initial diagnosis by looking in the mirror. 

Clinical examination and additional diagnostic procedures such as radiography (X-ray), computed tomography (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging are used to diagnose pectus carinatum in women. 

A chest X-ray and scanner are used in the preoperative phase of pectus carinatum. In case of severe abnormalities, lung function tests (spirometry) can be used to see if there’s a change in lung volumes.

Small and medium-sized abnormalities in the infancy period have the best treatment outcomes. 

Treatment for Females with Pectus Carinatum

Ravitch Procedure

Dr. Mark Ravitch developed the standard surgical procedure for correcting pectus carinatum, also used for women. The surgical treatment involves removing parts of the ribs and sternum.

That is done to reduce chest protrusion for aesthetic reasons. This form of therapy can be very successful and lead to satisfied patients. 

Abramson Surgery

The Abramson technique offers presternal implantation of a metal bar connected to both sides of the chest wall, with metal plates for compressing the sternum, as a variation of the Nuss technique for pectus carinatum repair. This technique is used for female patients too.

Abramson Surgery Step-by-Step

This procedure uses general anesthesia with single lumen intubation and muscle relaxation. Both arms are abducted when the patient is in a supine posture.

A horizontal line is drawn through the region of the thoracic wall to determine where the incisions should be. The ribs that are best for periosteal wire insertion are chosen. The sternum is manually squeezed once the bar is in the proper position, with the cavity pointing posteriorly.

The three tip holes on the end of the compressor bar correspond to the two threaded holes on each side of the fixation plate, and both are secured with stainless steel screws. This attachment is on both the lateral and contralateral sides, with the degree of compression gradually increasing on each side.

Then the periosteal wires are firmly tightened at the proper costal level, and the anterior chest wall is manually compressed.

The patients are tested once every six months. After 24 months, the implants are removed.

Surgery is Effective for Females

These findings highlight the significance of conducting a bilateral cartilage resection to avoid recurrence, even when the cartilages are deformed unilaterally. In general, female patients handle surgery very well and have minimal postoperative complications.

Recurrence is uncommon in facilities with a lot of expertise. People who had their deformities corrected at a young age or who had a partial repair at the time of the first surgery are more likely to return.

Non-Surgical Treatment for Females with Pectus Carinatum

Treatment should begin with techniques that include chest and back muscle strengthening and breathing exercises.

Swimming is highly recommended because it can strengthen the postural muscles without decreasing the flexibility in the chest wall, so compression braces can more effectively correct the deformation.

Physical Therapy

Young girls with pectus carinatum need physical therapy, which includes breathing exercises. Also, I will suggest activities to strengthen the shoulder girdle, chest, and core muscles. 

Bracing

The pectus carinatum brace is widely used to treat this deformity in females with a high success rate. The braces provide external compression, pushing the sternum down and pulling the rib arches upwards.

The orthosis must be constructed according to specific measurements to be the most efficient. The best part about these belts is the possibility to continue with therapy and sports activities while wearing these orthoses.

The braces that limit the protrusion of the sternum should be worn every day for an extended period. Corrective gymnastics can be an entertaining choice for pectus carinatum treatment as a woman.

These are therapeutic exercises that try to rebalance the bones, joints, and muscles. You should build the muscles of your body as a whole, not just in the chest. You have to do everything in your power to stop the abnormality from progressing further.

With these kinds of solutions, maybe the result will not come easy and fast, but for sure is the most pleasing way to fix your problem.

Psychological Consequences in Women

Pectus carinatum abnormality can have a negative psychological impact and consequences in women. It affects most females, especially those with more severe cases.

The negative self-image and low self-esteem result from their awkward chest appearance. The biggest problem is staying away from social relationships during adolescence and maturity.

You Are Not Alone

If you have pectus carinatum as a female, be sure that you are not alone. Remember that everyone has insecurities. Maybe there are not obvious, but insecurities are always present among us.

I suggest you make a difference and motivate fellow females to be more confident regarding their pectus carinatum deformity. Be aware that every girl may have similar or different insecurity. So be the friend that you want to have, to others.

Be open and talk about your problems.

Don’t Let the Deformity Define You

The deformity shouldn’t define your value as a person. Be aware of your worth and work on your inner self-confidence, not just the external body image. Knowing that you are a strong person will help you a lot mentally.

It will be easier for you to be consistent in your deformity treatment, whether it is surgically on non-surgically.

You Can Hide It With Clothing

Always work on yourself. Read a lot of self-help books. That’s what helped me grow as a better person who didn’t rely only on his appearance for his confidence. 

As a female, you can easily find clothes that will hide your pectus carinatum deformity. However, when it comes to choosing bras for carinatum, it can be a bit difficult.

I have explored that the sports bra may be the best solution. They are the most comfortable and can be fit a larger group. 

The Bottom Line

Enjoy the journey of improving your pectus carinatum as a female. Remember that the biggest problem of this deformity is that it can cause anxiety and depression.

Look at pectus carinatum posts on Tumblr, Twitter, Reddit, and other social media platforms or internet websites or search for more girls’ stories. Sharing your problem with someone you can trust is a massive step toward a solution.

I encourage you to share your story with others and live a healthy and active lifestyle. You will be amazed at how people will embrace you.

The negative thoughts about your body image will slowly disappear!

Article by:

Mihail Veleski

My name is Mihail Veleski. I used to suffer from the pectus excavatum deformity during my teenage years.

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