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Nuss Center

(757) 668-6877

Welcome to the Nuss Center, Home of the Nuss Procedure. If your child has been diagnosed with pectus excavatum, pectus carinatum, or any other chest deformity, turn to the world-renowned experts at CHKD, trusted by the parents of thousands of our patients.

What is Pectus Excavatum?

Pectus Excavatum ExplanationAlso know as “sunken chest,” pectus excavatum is a depression in the chest. The depression may be in the center of the chest or more pronounced on one side (asymmetrical). A child can be born with pectus or develop pectus during the pubertal growth spurt. The pectus may become more severe with growth spurts. 

The pectus depression can squeeze or crowd the heart and lungs. Individuals may have difficulty catching their breath, tire easily, and/or complain of chest pain during exercise. At CHKD, we can determine the “grade” or severity of the pectus by calculating the  Haller index from your child’s cardiac/thoracic MRI or CT scan of the chest.

Early evaluation by a CHKD pediatric surgeon is beneficial. Bones are softer in young children and more easily reshaped. As the pectus worsens and the child approaches the teenage years, the bones become harder. This can make it more difficult to raise the sternum up, allowing more room for the heart and lungs.

However,  surgery can be successfully performed on patients through adulthood.


What is Pectus Carinatum?

Pectus CarinatumPectus carinatum, also referred to as pigeon chest, is a chest wall deformity in which the sternum and ribs protrude.

 Beyond possible physiological issues of this condition – a rigid chest wall can lead to inefficient respiration and challenges with stamina – the deformity can have a psychological impact on the patient.

Most commonly, pectus carinatum appears in males between ages 11 and 14 as they reach puberty and is commonly the result of overgrowth of costal cartilage.

At CHKD, our pediatric surgeons at the Nuss Center treat pectus carinatum two ways. For manageable cases in which compression of less than 7.5 psi can positively affect the protrusion, the use of the  Dynamic Compression Brace is recommended.

In other cases, our surgeons can perform  minimally invasive surgery to correct the condition.


A Leader in Chest Wall Reconstruction

As Home of the Nuss Procedure, CHKD has been treating chest wall conditions for almost 30 years. Because of its expertise when correcting chest wall deformities, CHKD hosted the 2016 Chest Wall International Group world conference, covering all facets of chest wall deformity and how to correct it.

CHKD's surgical staff performs the Nuss Procedure and the Ravitch procedure to correct pectus excavatum, corrects pectus carinatum through compression brace treatment as well as through surgery, and offers non-surgical correction of pectus excavatum for milder cases.

We specialize in the most complex and unique cases as well. 

View our Nuss Outcome Data.

Pectus Excavatum Treatment at CHKD

Pectus Carinatum Treatment at CHKD

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(757) 668-6877

Meet Dr. Nuss

Read what U.S. News and World Report had to say about Dr. Donald Nuss, creator of the Nuss Procedure.

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