Signs & Symptoms

The hallmark of Pectus Excavatum is the sunken/in-ward appearance of the sternum. In the majority of cases, the abnormality is purely cosmetic, and as a result can only be diagnosed by visual examination. However, in some rare cases where the condition is particularly severe, it can result significant physiological symptoms such as impaired cardiac and respiratory functions due to a displacement and/or rotation of the heart and decreased base lung capacity. In these more serious instances, the condition displaces the heart to the left, placing it under additional pressure, whilst also impairing the respiratory movements of the lungs. The resulting symptom is breathlessness upon exertion, and possibly pain around the heart and chest. Such symptoms can be diagnosed by a professional medical practitioner. For more details on how Pectus Excavatum and its symptoms can be diagnosed, please visit the Diagnosis page.


Despite typically being cosmetic in nature, those who suffer from the condition may experience significant negative physiological effects, and avoid activities which put the chest on display and expose the deformity. The condition can be highly demoralizing and potentially cause significant physiological distress to the individual concerned. As a result, many individuals suffering from the condition seek cosmetic surgery to treat the condition, or engage in alternative non-surgical conditions to improve and potentially remedy the condition.

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