DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pigeon chest deformity (pectus carinatum) in a 13- year-old boy. Pectus deformities are deformities of the sternum (breast bone). In pectus carinatum, the sternum protrudes outwards from the normal position. The other common deformity is to have a caved-in sternum (pectus excavatum). The cause of such deformities is thought to be excessive growth of the costal cartilage of the ribcage, placing pressure on the sternum and causing it to buckle either inwards or outwards. The heart, lungs and stamina may be affected, but the most common problems are psychological due to appearance. This rare condition is more common in boys. Surgical correction is possible, but rarely carried out.
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