Pectus carinatum, also known as 'pigeon chest' is a deformity of the anterior chest wall, and is caused when the breast bone is pushed outward. Pigeon chest affects around one in 1,000 people.
The London Orthotic Consultancy’s treatment for pectus carinatum is non-surgical and involves wearing a bespoke brace – Dynamic Chest Compressor - combined with a programme of daily exercises. The brace applies constant pressure over the area of the chest that needs to be remodelled. It is now almost four years since we introduced this new treatment for pectus carinatum, and we are building up some convincing case histories of successful outcomes.
The most important factor in achieving a good result is compliance to the treatment programme. Regular reviews are part of the treatment programme, preferably in clinic, or via Skype consultations.
At each physical appointment, we will check that the brace is positioned correctly and that the correction pads are designed correctly for your changing chest shape. We realise that there is a huge commitment from you to wear the brace and we want every moment that you wear it to be as effective as possible.
Some patients may find the initial stages of treatment tough. The first few days can be painful, as the corrective force to the chest is applied, and the first few weeks may be uncomfortable. After that, our patients normally say that they feel odd when they take the brace off. We encourage our patients to be open with family and friends, so that they can be a source of encouragement in the early days of treatment.
When treating patients with flexible chest walls, we have to be careful not to over-correct. The image below is of a patient after only three weeks of wear - thus the need for regular reviews.
On average, we would expect to have a positive outcome from treatment within a year.
Generally, we define the result and the time to finish treatment by your own opinion of how your chest looks. The majority of our patients enter into the treatment because they are not happy with their chest shape. Therefore, we want you to be happy with the end result. This may range from you feeling comfortable enough to take your shirt off in public, or that you may simply no longer be aware of any deformity under your clothes. This is a very personal decision, but we will help to guide you through it.
To finish treatment, we generally need our patients to wear the brace in an ever-reducing 'wearing protocol'. For patients still growing, we will need to maintain treatment at some level until we are happy that an individual's growth has stopped. This may mean you are wearing the brace a couple of times a night during the week and continuing your exercises.