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February 1959

Indications and Results in the Surgical Treatment of Pectus Excavatum

Author Affiliations

From the Divisions of Thoracic Surgery and Pulmonary Diseases of the Henry Ford Hospital.

AMA Arch Surg. 1959;78(2):322-327. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1959.04320020144022

Pectus excavatum, or funnel chest, is a deformity characterized by depression of the lower sternum and adjacent costal cartilages. The lowest point is at the junction of the xiphoid process and the body of the sternum. It is commonly detected in early infancy, when it is noted that there is paradoxical retraction of the area on inspiration. During the next year or two, the costal cartilages and sternum become fixed, so that the depression is present regardless of the phase of respiration. The early problems are cosmetic and psychological (with effects on both the patient and his parents), but later there is almost inevitably some functional impairment. We have operated on 25 patients with pectus excavatum and are convinced that surgical treatment is remarkably effective and safe. This communication is presented with the hope that more young patients will receive specific corrective measures before anatomic changes have become relatively irreversible

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