Non Surgical Treatment
There are a variety of non surgical treatments for the Pectus Excavatum deformity which when used effectively can go great lengths to completely, or at least partially, remove the condition. Moreover, when used in conjunction with one another the probability of success can increase dramatically. Many of our users have experienced substantial benefits from following the treatments listed below. To find out more about their experiences, why not take a look at the community blog.
The non surgical treatments for Pectus Excavatum can be categorized into two main groups:
- Medical Treatments ? Are founded on the use of cosmetic medical devices, such as vacuum bells, to attempt to cure the condition
- Physiotherapy Treatments ? Focus on the use of exercise and body manipulation techniques to get rid of the condition.
There are advocates for both types of non surgical treatment, as is evident from what users have posted in the blog. However, when used in conjunction with one another they can greatly support the effectiveness of one another, which is why we recommend that you follow both types of treatment.
There are several cosmetic medical treatments available. The two most effective and most popular are:
The vacuum bell is largely considered to be the most effective medical device, while the spirometer is generally regarding as a supportive device to aid in the effectiveness of vacuum bell therapy. The vacuum bell works by creating a vacuum just above the sternum in order to suck out the chest and remove the inward appearance of the chest. Whilst the immediate effects of the device are short lived, over time it can be used to produce permanent improvements to the shape of the chest. It has been shown by several medical studies to produce promising results in patients using the device for over a year. For more information on the device and how to get your hands on it, please visit the vacuum bell page.
The spirometer works slightly differently to the vacuum bell by attempting to increase the size and capacity of the lungs in order to push the ribs and sternum outwards into a more natural shape. Again, it has been shown to produce noticeable improvements in chest shape if used for an extended period of time. However, due to the restricted impact the size of the lungs can have on the ribs, many choose to use it as a tertiary treatment in order to support vacuum bell therapy. For more information on the spirometer, please visit the spirometer page. Additionally, many individuals choose to replicate the effect of using a spirometer by performing breathing exercises in order to increase base lung capacity. For more information on these breathing exercises, please visit the exercise directory.
The underlying principle behind physiotherapy treatment is that the shape of the body can be altered over time with effective exercise. More specifically, the bone structure of the body is ‘plastic’ by nature and to some extent can be remoulded and reshaped with body manipulation techniques. Such techniques target the spine and ribs in order to remove skeletal defects and bring out the sternum. Patients are advised to perform chest, back, shoulder and breathing exercises in order to alleviate the Pectus Excavatum deformity.
Chest exercises are recommended in order to pull out the sternum and encourage a more cosmetically appealing shape to the chest. Back exercises are possibly more important than chest exercises, since exercising the upper back effectively pulls the shoulders back into a preferable position and this has the effect of making the chest appear flatter (try it for yourself – pull your shoulders back and see if it makes a difference). Shoulder exercises are advised for similar reasons. Breathing exercise, as previously stated, are recommended to increase the size and capacity of the lungs in order to push out the sternum from the inside, rather than pull it out, as with the other exercises. This type of treatment can produce dramatic effects if followed correctly, effectively improving the patients bone structure and the cosmetic appearance of the chest.
Many patients following this type of treatment work to develop muscle around the upper body by following a more intensive exercise program. Doing so has two profound effects. On one level the exercise of the chest, back and shoulders helps to improve the skeletal structure of the patient and effectively treat the condition. In addition, the development of muscle also has the added effect of masking the deformity. The more muscle the patient possess on their upper body, the less noticeable the deformity becomes. Many individuals have been able to almost completely hide and effectively treat the condition by developing their upper body. For more information on what exercises are recommended, please look at the exercise directory.