Children's Hospital Colorado

Pectus Excavatum

What is pectus excavatum?

Pectus excavatum, also known as "funnel chest" or "sunken chest," is a chest wall disorder. Children with this condition have a chest that caves into the body instead of curving out. This is a condition that kids can be born with, but it often does not develop until children go through their adolescent growth spurt. Pectus excavatum varies greatly in severity.

What causes pectus excavatum?

There is no known cause of pectus excavatum, however it develops when the rib bones and cartilage that make up the anterior chest wall develop abnormally. Due to extra cartilage growth during development, the sternum gets progressively pushed inward resulting in a caved- in chest.

Who gets pectus excavatum?

Chest wall deformities cannot be prevented and are a relatively common abnormality during development. Pectus excavatum is much more common in boys than girls. Families affected by chest wall deformities often have more than one person with pectus excavatum.

Get to know our pediatric experts.

Jessica Outten, FNP

Jessica Outten, FNP

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Practitioner

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Richele Koehler, PA-C

Richele Koehler, PA-C

Physician Assistant

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Christy Kaczmarek, MPH/MSPH

Christy Kaczmarek, MPH/MSPH

Physician Assistant

Steven Moulton, MD

Steven Moulton, MD

Surgery - Pediatric, Surgery