Michelangelo, "The Creation of Adam" (c. 1511)


I always knew that my chest was different from the other boys at school. This was independently confirmed on a beautiful summer’s day in 1979, when I was 12 years old. The class bully, a boy by the name of Benjamin Jordan, took it upon himself to make fun of my sunken chest during a school swimming carnival. Benjamin thought it would be amusing to point out my deformity to all of the students and teachers at the carnival by first chasing me and pulling off my t-shirt, and then standing above me shouting “crater chest” and “elephant man” – rather unimaginative insults, I remember thinking to myself at the time.  Although, now looking back on it, the term “crater chest” was actually a highly imaginative insult for a 12-year-old boy.  Needless to say, Benjamin Jordan and others called me crater chest for the next 5 years.

That summer’s day in 1979 changed my life forever. For it was on that day that The Demon was born. Life was bestowed upon my Pectus Excavatum by virtue of my hatred of it and of myself for having it. Why me? Why did I have to be different from everyone else? Why was I deformed? Why? As a 12-year-old boy, with no information or knowledge about such things, I was left alone in the prison of my thoughts. I stayed in that prison for 30 years. I remember that swimming carnival like it was yesterday, which is rather sad, because I am now 42 years old. Carrying around memories such as these for 30 years, irrespective of how deeply they may have been buried by your sub-conscious, has a profound effect on one’s self-esteem. More on that later.

It would take another 30 years after Benjamin Jordan outed my Pectus Excavatum before I finally found the courage to have corrective surgery in Berlin at the age of 42. And now, as I sit here almost six weeks post-surgery, the profound self-loathing that I have cultivated over the years remains difficult to revoke. Recovery has been, and continues to be, slow and very painful. I continue to struggle with issues of body image, despite the fact that The Demon has been slaughtered. This website is part of my recovery process – an avenue for me to express and share my feelings and to document my experiences and my progress out of the darkness of my Pectus Hell.

Although at times I express negative emotions about my experience with surgery and recovery, this website is ultimately intended as an expression of hope. I have finally defeated The Demon and am on the road to recovery. My hope is that the experiences I have had, and continue to have, will benefit other adults who may decide to pursue corrective surgery for their own Pectus Excavatum.


Despite knowing that my chest was abnormal from my early teenage years, it was only in my late 20’s that I discovered The Demon had a name, Pectus Excavatum. The term Pectus Excavatum is Latin. It sounds more like an evil spell from one of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books than an anterior chest wall deformity. The word “pectus” means chest, and the word “excavatum” means hollow, so Pectus Excavatum is translated as “hollow chest”. The deformity is also referred to variously by non-medical professionals as funnel chest, sunken chest or, if one is to believe Benjamin Jordan, “crater chest”. One of my good friends, Randy, simply refers to it as “The Dent”. I usually refer to it as Pectus, or simply PE.

What you call it is irrelevant. It is a thief. It steals joy and confidence, self-worth, and spontaneity. Like one of Philip Burne-Jones’ beautiful vampires, Pectus Excavatum had such power over me that it was able to suck the joy out of many of my experiences, experiences that should have been fun. Going swimming, going on beach vacations, playing sports, making love, and many other experiences.

Philip Burne-Jones' "Le Vampire," (1897)

Philip Burne-Jones' "Le Vampire," (1897)

Despite its power over me for so many years, however, I finally managed to call upon reserves of inner-strength to take decisive action at the age of 42 and to drive a stake, or, more accurately, two 16 inch steel Nuss bars, into the heart of The Demon. Il est morte, but more on that later.


Pectus Excavatum is touted in the medical community as the most common congenital deformity of the anterior wall of the chest. In people with PE, the growth of bone and cartilage in the anterior chest wall is abnormal, typically affecting 4-5 ribs on each side of the sternum, creating a sunken or hollow appearance. The exact mechanism involved in this abnormal bone and cartilage overgrowth is not known, and, to date, no known genetic marker has been found responsible for the development of Pectus Excavatum – although I note that some newer studies seem to be leaning towards the conclusion that there may be a familial occurrence of Pectus. As with any congenital deformity, the appearance of the defect varies widely, from mild to very severe, and some patients present with significant asymmetry between the right and left sides. Mine was considered severe and slightly asymmetrical to the right.

Most cases of severe Pectus Excavatum are noticed at birth, with progressive worsening during the child’s growth and development. The condition typically becomes much more pronounced at puberty, during the time of rapid bone and cartilage growth. Most patients are brought to medical attention during their teenage years because of the significant change in the appearance of their chest. These significant changes can be terrifying for both children and their parents alike. Often the hole becomes much deeper during puberty. This is exactly what happened to me. Between the ages of 11 to 14 my PE went from mild, to moderate, then to severe. It was horrifying to watch it progress over this short period of time.

Many scales have been developed to determine the degree of deformity in the chest wall. Most of these are variants on the distance between the sternum and the spine. The most widely used determinant of severity today is known as the Haller Index, a measurement which based on CT scan measurements. The Haller Index is the ratio between the horizontal distance of the inside of the ribcage and the shortest distance between the vertebrae and sternum. An index over 3.25 is defined as severe and warranting surgical correction. My Haller Index was recorded as 5.0! Nice and severe.

When I was 14 years old, my family doctor told me that the hole in my chest was “nothing to worry about”, that it would never cause any physical problems, and that I would “grow out of it”. Needless to say, I didn’t grow out of it. On the contrary, it became worse over the years, both in terms of its physical appearance and its psychological impact. When I was in my early teens there was very little published information about the deformity and the Internet was not yet available as a resource to either patients or medical practitioners. So, to a certain extent, I can understand my doctor’s ignorance. Today, however, there is absolutely no excuse for medical practitioners to brush off patients who come to them with Pectus. No excuse whatsoever.


Numerous medical journals report that PE occurs in 1 in every 300 to 1000 births, which makes it rather common. According to Lorenz Surgical, the makers of the stainless steel bars implanted during the Nuss Procedure, approximately 349 people are born with Pectus Excavatum every day . That is an extraordinary number! Despite this, however, there is a shameful lack of awareness about PE among general medical community. Many medical practitioners continue to dismiss the concerns of patients seeking assistance in understanding and/or correction of their condition. These quacks should be sought out and exposed.

William Hogarth, "The Visit to the Quack Doctor" (1743)

William Hogarth, "The Visit to the Quack Doctor" (1743)

One of the reasons I have decided to create this website is to bring awareness to Pectus Excavatum and to create a central repository of information about the condition. I will post links to medical journals, research papers, online community support groups, video journals, newspaper articles, and anything else I can get my hands on which might help someone dealing with this condition. For it is only with knowledge can you hope to defeat The Demon.

If your concerns about PE are dismissed by your local doctor, my advice to you is simple – change doctors. Do not settle for incompetence. Find an experienced doctor who knows what he or she is talking about, or get a referral to someone who does. Talking about Pectus Excavatum is a frightening prospect for many people because it is not something you are accustomed to talking about or sharing with other people, even a medical practitioner. It can be very frustrating and disheartening when a medical practitioner brushes you off with rubbish about Pectus Excavatum not being serious, or that it is a purely cosmetic issue, or is something that either can’t be or doesn’t need to be fixed.

If you’ve got PE, you won’t grow out of it. Exercising won’t make it look better. Trust me, I tried everything apart from witch doctor remedies. Doctors who dismiss your concerns about your PE are doing so because they are ignorant about the condition. It’s that simple. This is unacceptable and you should push for a referral to a thoracic surgeon. Never give up.

272 Responses to “Pectus What?”

  1. 1 Rick
    September 9, 2009 at 5:45 PM

    Well what can i say, This is fantastic! You string sentences like your a words smith? Are you a Teacher? This is some very good use of English.

    Your website is Amazing. This is what you have been doing whilst your recovering! kudos to you my friend! Thank you for adding me in your video blog section i was overjoyed when i came across that!

    I’ll have to start doing something more, P.E should be made more aware at least in the medical circles 349 people a day born with P.E and i have never seen anyone in my life with it apart from me 😦

    Again great Job


  2. September 9, 2009 at 7:27 PM

    Hey Rick, I’m glad you like the site and I hope people find it informative and educational. I had never seen another person with PE until I went to Berlin. There it was wall-to-wall PE guys. It was quite surreal to be in a world where PE was the norm!

  3. 3 Rischio
    September 15, 2009 at 5:18 PM

    Hello Pectus Dude,

    I’m going to have to go with the crowd and say that your writing is indeed very impressive. Eloquent and enthralling, I bet you would do well if you pursued it.

    The information you have managed to gather here is an incredible resource, and by far the most comprehensive that I have stumbled upon.

    Your story is intriguing and although I am far younger than you, I can relate to it all too well. Pectus excavatum is truly a Demon.

    May I ask how successful your surgery was?

  4. September 15, 2009 at 6:06 PM

    Hi Rischio,

    I am glad that you enjoyed reading my story and, more importantly, found the website to be a useful resource.

    My surgery was very successful. I am completely dent-free. I still have a lot of work to do in the gym building up my body, expecially my chest muscles. I am very confident, however, that with continued hard work in the gym and a good diet, the appearance of my chest will be excellent in 12 to 18 months.

    I still have some stubborn rib-flaring which was not completely corrected during surgery, but I will be having that sorted out one way or another – either before or at the time of removal of my two Nuss bars.

    You can see my progress so far in the recent posts section under “Setting Goals” and “14 Week Update”.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to comment. Also, please feel free to share this website with anyone you think may benefit from it.

  5. 5 Lanks
    September 23, 2009 at 1:11 AM

    I first found out it that Pectus Excavatum was genetic when I visited relatives on my father’s side for the first time. Seeing my cousins and uncles with the same figure of a chest(or lack of) was evidence enough for me as well as reassuring that I wasnt some strange kid that was abducted by aliens who stole my chest for research(one of the many “theories” on how my chest is).

    One thing I promised myself was not to let what anyone says about it bother me. Although it wasn’t until I started to date and engage in sexual activities that it really did start to bother me, as it would in many cases act as a section cup and the sound that follows the release is rather disturbing during “the deed”. Also having the odd girl not be able to see past it at all.

    I am a college student now and in my early 20s. The idea of surgery has occured to me but the money for it would be out of my range and I doubt health insurance covers it. So I just make the best of it, its something that, in my case, cannot be changed for a long time. Your friends understand and although the odd comment comes out now and then only as a joke, just shake it off and forget about it.

  6. 6 Nik
    October 7, 2009 at 12:30 PM

    Thank you for making this blog. Your stories are amazing to hear and more amazing to compare with ones of my own. please keep posting more 🙂

  7. 7 Lin Jackson
    November 26, 2009 at 6:07 AM

    Unfortunately, my family doctor is one of those that told me my son would “grow out of it” as he got older and his pec muscles filled in. He’s now 21 years old and he has not grown out of it. What type of specialist would we need to see regarding this problem? Any help would be appreciated as I too was not aware of this being as common as it appears to be. Good luck in your recovery and Thanks for a great website!

  8. November 27, 2009 at 2:07 PM

    Hi Lin. Thanks for your message. Your son is still young so hopefully he would recover from surgery quickly. You need to see a cardiothoracic surgeon who has experience with PE. Also, you might send your son’s photographs to Professor Schaarschmidt (my surgeon) and ask for his opinion. I would also be happy to give you my opinion on his PE. I would also suggest you register as a member of the Pectus Info Forum (see the link on my website). There are many people there with a great amount of experience and they would be more than happy to give you advice. Please let me know how you get on and if I can be of any further assistance. I am always happy to help fellow PE suffers and their families.

  9. 9 BC Guy
    November 30, 2009 at 3:18 AM

    Hi Pectus Dude,
    First off, I would like to thank you for the story and the links to the all the info. It has been an awakening for me. I was diagnosed with PE when I was very young as mine was quite severe. Fortunately my Mom found an expert on the condition at BC Childrens Hospital here in Canada and had corrective surgery at age 7. That was 25 years ago now and I’m still not comfortable with it. I had a good surgeon and I’m sure he did his best but I’m still left with a concave. I have never met anyone else in my life with the condition which I find strange if it as prevalent at the “experts” say it is. I had always assumed it was very rare and thought it would only be corrected when a person was young to let the healing take place quickly. I remember the time I spent in Hospital like it was yesterday and how hard it was to recover then. Your a tough dude for getting it done at 42. After reading your story, I’m suddenly thinking that it might be possible to get it completely corrected. I have in recent months had some chest pain at the base of the sternum and have been getting worried that there may be something wrong. In doing some research I came across your website and would like to thank you again for opening my eyes.
    For all the people with PE and the parents with children with PE I would just like to second Pectus Dudes opinion … if your Dr. tells you its cosmetic … find a new Dr.


  10. 10 NorthernLight
    December 2, 2009 at 11:22 PM

    Hello. I’ve been trying to research Pectus Carinatum as my son seems to have this condition and will be seeing a specialist in a couple of weeks. I know this is the opposite of your condition, but do you have any information? or could you possibly direct me to a site that has great info. like yours? Anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated.

  11. December 7, 2009 at 10:01 AM

    Dear NorthernLight,

    May I suggest the Pectus Info Forum mentioned in my links. They have a section devoted to PC. I wish you and your son the very best.

  12. December 8, 2009 at 8:40 PM

    I was pleased to find this site, but saddened by your story. It seems that you were teased far too much as a kid– they were cruel. I’m sorry that it affected you so much.
    About my experience: I always had a sunken chest, and it has always bothered me a bit, particularly as I have quite extreme and asymmetrical rib flaring as well. I was teased a bit as a child, but I guess being a girl meant that I didn’t show my chest much. When I started wearing bikinis at the pool, people occasionally commented, asked questions and teased me about my dent, but since I hit my 20s that seems to have almost disappeared along with many other symptoms of immaturity in my friends!
    I don’t know if it got worse when I hit puberty, as being a girl, it was hard to tell — instead of my breasts growing to cover/ fill the dent as my father once told me would happen (!!) they grew either side of it, making it seem more extreme and at the same time making it hard to tell exactly what was what. Fortunately I didn’t get the ‘cross-eyed nipple’ look that some poor women get.
    Now, as in your case, I am in my late 20s (well, 26) and have only just discovered what my condition is called and that it is fairly common, although it does disturb me that it is much more common for males than females. I have also been researching treatment, and it seems that the Nuss procedure is not usually performed on people older than 20 or so. How have you found the surgery? Do you think it has been more painful for you than it would be for a teenager? Did you have to have 2 bars instead of one because of your age? Do you think that your chest has / will have reformed to be permanently in the new shape by the time they remove the Nuss bars? Did your doctor give you an idea of what to expect?
    I would really appreciate your help. Also I am interested to know what procedures can reduce the rib flaring. Does the Nuss ever do this by itself?
    Now I know so much more I am definitely getting tests done to see if my PE has anything to do with my asthma, my scoliosis, my back pain, my slight chest pain, my heart arrythmia/palpitations, and my lack of ability with aerobic sports!
    Cheers, and best wishes 🙂

  13. 13 NorthernLight
    December 9, 2009 at 1:26 AM

    thank you so much Pectus Dude. I guess if I’d been more vigilant I would have found it myself, but I was just so excited to find this site. I see a lot of good info. here. My main concerns are doctors not really acknowledging or wanting to do full testing. LIke some people I’ve also been told it’s mostly cosmetic but my son cannot breathe properly so I’m not buying it. He is having a lung function test soon, but I would think that his other organs should be tested for function as well. Oh well …. one thing at a time.

    Thanks again … so much.

  14. December 12, 2009 at 12:27 PM

    @ Liz – I am very pleased so far with the results of my surgery. The only thing that I don’t like is my continued rib flaring but I hope to have this corrected at bar removal. Rib flaring sometimes resolves on its own in teenage patients once they have the Nuss performed but not so much with adults. With adults, a procedure known as a costotomy will need to be performed at the same time as the Nuss. My surgeon did attempt to correct my rib flaring when I had the Nuss but it did not take. I had two bars becuase of my age and the severity of my bars. All adults should ideally have two bars. There is no question in my mind that the surgery is less pianful for a teenager whose bones are still relatively soft.

  15. 15 Greg
    January 6, 2010 at 4:34 AM

    hey i have pectus and im 19 years old. it haunts me every day especially since being disqualified for surgery because my case wasn’t deemed severe enough for the risk even though i was more than certain that i wanted to proceed with surgery. i registered somewhere between 2.5-3 on the index so i dont have a quite severe case but its very prominent. do you have any advice on what i should do at this point ?

  16. 16 PD
    January 26, 2010 at 4:48 AM

    I’m 43 and considering having the surgery also. How much is the surgery. I was always told it was cosmetic and insurance wouldn’t pay for it.

  17. 17 Brian
    January 31, 2010 at 12:50 PM

    The part where you write that PE is a thief that takes away joy and spontaneity really resonated with me. Sometimes I feel guilty for letting it get the best of me but nevertheless it did. I had it fixed by Prof. Schaar at age 40 and am relieved that the ordeal is over, but I am still a social misfit because self confidence is not something that you can just switch on. I’ve been a lone wolf so long that I do not realistically envision myself ever participating in normal social interactions. My relationships with others at work and other environments is cordial and polite but superficial. On the one hand, I’d like people to invite me to their events and such, but on the other hand when I am at such events I feel that I appear creepy because I have a stiff and unrelaxed appearance. I guess it’s just a viscious cycle.

  18. 18 dwight
    February 4, 2010 at 1:29 AM

    I’ve experienced many of the same experiences as you and am 5 yrs your sr but still hoping to correct the “dent problem”. I’d say mine is at least as bad if not worse than yours and with yrs of push-ups,etc…I’ve accentuated the depth of the hole! From a side view, with my my fingers perpendicular to and touching my chest…you can just see the 2nd knuckle.
    Time, that is time for having the surgery performed and then the recuperation, as well as total expense are issues I have to get around. Think that if insurance won’t cover it then I will talk it over with the wife and finance the darn thing with a loan. I hope to be Dr Schaar’s patient also.
    I’ll figure it out!

    I just know that if I get “it” fixed then my heart and lungs will benefit from it…I’ve always been ltd in aerobic activity though I’ve pushed thru it in my military career.

    Thanks so much for your very touching and informative story of adversity, perseverance and success.

  19. 19 Irish
    February 5, 2010 at 6:50 AM

    Thanx for setting up your site. I’m a mum and my 15 year old son has is 7 days post-op Nuss procedure. The results look great to me. He has also had some rib-flare and the bar seems to have cleared this up completely, although he will no doubt see some of it still.
    He’s worried now though about his uneven shoulder blades, probably due to the mild scoliosis he has also had for a while. I think that its a diasappointment to see that he’s not 100%, despite it being such early days.
    I’ve decided to be positive and encourage him to find ways to exercise (when he’s well enough) etc. The Nuss procedure has been a challenge and the pain, although reducing greatly, is qute draining.

  20. 20 Scott M. Ellsworth
    February 8, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Thanks for this website! It is a great comfort to read your story, as it parallels my son’s life in so many ways. (He did not, however, have to go through the cruel taunts and the self-perception difficulties that your enlightening, and comforting account recites. Of course, I say that without first-hand knowledge; perhaps he has had a terrible time, and I’m just too obtuse to see it.) Anyway, my son Digory (after the boy in CS Lewis’s Magician’s Nephew) will be going in for his surgery on Wednesday next. Your experience at 42 gives me hope that Digory’s surgery and recovery will go well. He’s 19, and we still had to go through two rejections and two appeals for our insurance carrier to approve payment. Digory was very discouraged at each repeated refusal (perhaps his self-image has suffered all these years), so you can imagine his relief at finally receiving approval.

    Could you suggest some of the ways you fought off (and are perhaps still fighting off) recovery pain? We’re thinking about walking and perhaps swimming as his exercises—and he has one of those Nintendo Wii fitness things downstairs on that big old TV of his. I’m told cardiovascular and pulmonary exercise greatly increase success after bar removal.

    Again, thank you for your candid exploration of this procedure. I think it will help all of us in our family over the next several weeks.

  21. 21 Rachel
    March 18, 2010 at 5:50 AM

    Hi Pectus Dude,
    I want to thank you also for your effort to help bring awareness to the condition. What a great website!
    Your story is very deep and heartfelt. I can relate to so many things you shared with us.
    The fact that so many people are never going to understand what we truly have to go through is devastating. And feeling imprisoned in this situation as you described it is exactly what I feel (and so many of us)
    So I also wanted to share my thoughts here. I understand your feelings and think you are doing a very good job by setting up a whole website with our fellow sufferers.

  22. 22 Jen
    March 19, 2010 at 1:25 AM

    Hello there,
    My husband suffers from PE as well. I must say that I seem to be the one who is resistant and incredibly apprehensive of him wanting to have surgery. I know this is something that he struggles with daily and although it does not bother me in any way, it is important for him to have corrective surgery. He forwarded me the link to your site and I cannot necessarily say I feel any better about surgery, but I certainly have a better understanding of the reason why he wants to have this done. He is talking about going to Germany next year for surgery which will only be possible if we can find a Dr. stateside who agrees that this is necessary.
    Any further feedback from you would be greatly appreciated and I do wish you nothing but the very best in your recovery and weight training.
    Warmest of regards,

  23. 23 TD
    March 19, 2010 at 11:15 PM

    Hello Pectus Dude,
    I underwent the surgery 5 months ago, but my rib bones have become very hard that makes it difficult for me to breath, thus my health has gone quite bad. I’m really worried if this bone-hardening continues. Can you share me some of your experiences or advises for my case, or give me the contacts of some specialists on PE? Thank you so much!

  24. 24 Dorothy
    April 19, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    I have PE and I am 14 years old And I would like to know how bad the surgery was and how long it took to be back to normal and how much it costs I don’t know a hole lot about it and I love your website thank you for making it and I hope you can tell me what ever you know and is there like a rating for PE? Like a 1 to 10 thing to tell how bad ones is thank you agian

  25. April 19, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    @ Dorothy – You are probably a little too young for surgery. It is best to have the surgery at an age where when the bars are removed you have stopped growing. As to your other questions, I’m afraid everyone is different. However, the younger you are the easier it is and the shorter the recovery. At your young age, I would guess that you would be back to normal in no time.

    There is no “rating” as such for PE but the insurance companies tend to use a measurement knows as the Haller Index. if your Haller Index is greater than 3.25 then your PE is considered as severe. I think I mention the Haller Index a little on this website, otherwise you can find out more about it by doing a Google search.

    Good luck!

  26. 26 X
    May 8, 2010 at 2:15 AM

    PE sucks, no-one can relate or understand its true effects unless theyv had it themselves

  27. 27 BB
    May 16, 2010 at 8:33 AM

    Today while at my daughter’s, she called me into my 15 year old grandson’s room and ask me
    to look at his chest. I was severely upset, not knowing what the problem was. I came home
    and started web surfing and came across your site. I’m very thankful to know that it is
    relatively common and if not severe, can cause relatively no physical problems. My daughter is going to make him a doctor’s appointment next week. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  28. 28 Cindy
    May 26, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    Hi there. I am glad you are taking time to blog your story. I hope it will help you get past the pain you suffered as a child as well as the pain you are now going thru.

    About 4 weeks ago my daughter was diagnosed with PE. She turned 19 yesterday. She has no indentation in her chest, no breathing problems. No sign of a problem except a little difference in breast size. Well to my amazement she has a severe case of PE. On the Haller Index she to is a 5.0. We went to see a Thorasic surgeon. He wanted to the open chest procedure which would leave her with a 8-10inch scar.Her heart is moved to one side of the chest. He explained how she would be on a ventilator and be in ICU and remain in the hospital for a week.He would use his saw to cut the sternum. My daughter and I were in such shock, I don’t know if I heard anything else he said. We got in the car and cryed the whole way home. I knew I had to find some answers.
    The next doctor was a Pulmonary doctor that said she only had 2/3 lung function but didn’t understand why we would repair this because it was cosmetic.
    That’s when I knew I had to do this on my own. After doing research on the web I learned about the Nuss Procedure. U tube has great videos on this procedure. We are scheduled to have this procedure done at CHKD the end of July. Don’t take the first opinion. Thank heavens I didn’t.

  29. 29 kATHY
    June 12, 2010 at 1:42 AM

    Just found your page and was very impressed! My son has or should I say HAD PC…the first doctor we saw said he’ll grow out of it, when those muscles start filling in it will be hardly noticible..What a quack! With every growth spurt my son’s sternum was being pushed further out! We found an excellent pediatric cardiac surgeon, he had the surgery April 29th…They had to remove 5 ribs from each side from his sternum and take off the “deformed” cartilage…The ribs were re-attached to the sternum by stitching the membranes together and the sternum itself was knotched out and laid flat.
    To Dorothy the 14 year old girl, Please Please find a good reputable surgeon, this is not just some cosmetic surgery it’s your lively hood, your self esteem. Recovery itself varries from person to person, but my son at 8 weeks post op has no pain what so ever and hasn’t since week 1. The cartilage will eventually grow back and reattach itself but that will take up to a year. No Gym in school for a year, what child wouldn’t LOVE that! LOL
    Physical Therapy is a must and I’m still waiting on our referrals so I was hoping to find something here so we could start something at home while we wait. Insurance companies are only in it for the money so they tend to stall.
    Anyone have any thoughts on PT for post-op PC corrections? Thanks You in advance

  30. 30 SomeoneSad
    June 23, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    To all parents who have children with PE – Read this. Understand.

    Pectus Dude: You have no idea how I feel for you, or how I can relate to your past and present horrors. I am a 19-year-old male who has finally caved in under the weight of the Pectus Demon’s manic psychological pressure. Like you, I haven’t taken off my T-Shirt in public since I was 14, which is when my pectus imploded. Apart from a severe case of Pectus Excavatum, I have added rib flare from mild scoliosis. You can only imagine how this disease has destroyed my teenage life.

    My parents are separated and very distant from me. I went up to them several times about the deformity, but they just individually shrugged it off as “something they could do nothing about”. I have also been kicked out of home 3 months ago after struggling with terrible depression and expulsion from college. Pectus Excavatum has literally robbed me of all motivation to do well at school, so I flunked the past 2 years of college, and have dropped out with barely a couple of A Levels to my name. Due to my crushed self-esteem, PE has never allowed me to develop any sort of close relationship with a girl.

    It is this last sentence which I wish to clarify to all parents who have PE afflicted children. PE has quite literally ruined my life, or at least, robbed about 3 decades of potential hypothetical happiness in 19 years. Throughout my admittedly short life-span so far, I have just like any other normal male human being, fallen in love. If you refuse to call it love, at least spare the courtesy of allowing me to call it infatuation. I fell into the Pectus Hell-hole of ‘falling in love’ with a girl, but never quite being able to get close to her in any way physically. As I watched my friends ream through relationships, one night stands, and soul-friendships, I remained the ‘loser virgin’, the ‘weird ugly guy’. And you know what hurts most of all about this? The fact that I can’t stand the idea of living a single life. For me, the scariest thought of all is falling in love with a girl who might actually return the affection. Should this ever happen, how on earth will I expose my body to her?

    You see, struggling through college, working my ass off to get a degree in Accounts, Banking or whatever, seems very damn pointless to somebody like me. Why should I bend over backwards, when my prospective future is to wake up at 8, rush off to work at 9, come home exhausted at about 6, only to be greeted by the whistling emptiness of a dark and lonely flat, along with the dawning realisation that this is the way my life is going to be, ad addendum, til the day I die?

    I’m scared. I’m more than scared. I’m desperate. I’m a single, lonely, poor and unmotivated teenager with no confidence, few friends, low self esteem and a shaky future ahead. The depression sets in deeper every week that goes by.

    Parents : DO NOT ignore your child’s pleas for help. DO NOT let the doctors shrug your children off. If your child has any other mild to severe deformities they are very insecure about, AT LEAST TRY to get them removed / fixed.

    I have become the angry, resentful, bitter, depressed, moly, single and ugly pectus-ghost.

    Don’t let your children fade away.

    That’s all from me,


  31. 31 Runs
    June 25, 2010 at 12:08 AM

    Hey SomeoneSad,

    I was very touched by your post, mostly because I have lived with the same feelings that you expressed. I know just how you feel. Believe me you are not alone and you have a great number of friends who not only understand you but care deeply about you. If you ever want to talk e-mail me at so we can talk. I know its not easy sometimes to get over how having pe has affected your life but you are much more than just that. Your message to parents is such an important one and you are very couragous to express it. Like you I have to agree that people just don’t understand. When a young person needs to be nourchured and accepted in what may be the most important time of thier life they can feel isolated, misunderstood and even regection. Sorry about my spelling. But you don’t have to feel that way.

    Plese e-mail me or post here again. You sound as if you are great person struggling as I and oithers have done and like me and others it can be overwhelming to deal with all by yourself. I can only wish you all the very best and and let you know that you are not alone.

    Take Care….Hope to hear from you………………..runs

    PS……Great site PectusDude you are AWESOME!!!

  32. June 25, 2010 at 1:23 AM

    @SomeoneSad – Thank you for reaching out and talking about how your PE makes you feel. Runs is right. YOu are not alone. There are many people, me included, that want to help you. I sent you an email yesterday urging you to join the forum at There are so many people who know exactly how you are feeling and have been faced with and have overcome the same fears. I hope to hear from you.

  33. 33 runs
    June 28, 2010 at 8:00 AM

    Hey Maus(SomeoneSad)

    I’ve been hoping to get a message from you. You have been on my mind alot lately. Not because I can help you or you even need my help but because you may be one of the few people who can even relate to the feelings we share together. I have nearly lost my mind thinking I alone felt the way I did. Talking to you would be a great help to me and hopefully of benifit to you as well.

    My best word of advice would be that no matter what you just have to remember to just be yourself. For the few reasons that you do not like yourself there are dozens if not hundreds of reasons to like yourself and that others will like you for. You have already shown yourself as a carring person, an inteligent person and person who really just wants no more that to be liked for who he really is. Believe me that girl you dream of will come along and if you let it a relationship will build out of carring and love and not just a physical attraction. And when your friends casual relationships and one night stands disolve into nothing yours will continue to grow.

    Still hope to hear from you..until then I wish you only the very best….your friend, runs

  34. 34 Stee Jans
    July 1, 2010 at 9:37 PM

    Wow guys, reading the posts on this page is just uncanny. I have shivers running down my spine with each read, as the realization dawns on me that all of my feelings of depression, worthlessness, and isolation that have been haunting me since my early teens are shared by so many others.

    My PE story is similar to everyone’s here. I was blissfully ignorant of it as a child, or maybe it didn’t show as much – can’t say for sure. But then in my early teens, it became increasingly noticeable that there was something different with me. And when a wrench like that is thrown into the emotional, physical, and sexual developments that are puberty, the damage is severe and long-lasting. I remember spending nights trying to find some purpose in life, thinking on what kind of career I should aim for, thinking how radical I should try to make my life. Because it was clear to me, even by the age of 15, that the whole “married-with-kids” scenario was denied to me by the Demon (gotta credit PectusDude for that one, it’s great).

    I think that, to varying degrees, I have shared every doubt, frustration, and desperate moment that many of the other people here have lived with. We all have. That’s what amazes me most, the fact that for all these years I was convinced that I was caught in this deep and lonely prison, a prison so unique that I couldn’t even talk to someone about it in the hopes that they’d understand. And if I did talk – would they ridicule me? Would they ask me seemingly innocuous questions that would in reality tear even more at what was left of my self-esteem? And all along, as I tried every mental device I knew of to convince myself that I was not the most pitiful wretch on the planet, there were dozens, hundreds, thousands of others just like me, asking the same questions, shedding the same tears.

    That’s one small blessing we can be thankful for. We are not alone, none of us. That means a lot to me, and it would have done me a lot of good to hear that when I was struggling to grow up with this hated defect. So I’d like to take this moment to congratulate everyone on this page, everyone who’s had the courage to admit it to themselves and to all of us that yes, our lives are harder and shittier than they need to be – but that we’ll deal with it, somehow. We are not alone. We are almost like a brotherhood, if you will, united across borders and distance by our common struggle with the Demon.

    It helps me to think of it in that way. It helps to know, even though I’ve never met any of you, that you’re out there, dealing with it the way I’m trying to, taking it one day at a time and secretly crossing your fingers, as I am, for tomorow to work out better than yesterday. I mean, hey – I figure God owes us one. Everybody with PE has got to have a break coming at some point.

    I don’t have all the answers. I struggle with this every day as you do. No girlfriend, no wife, people starting to wonder about my sex life… when I take my shirt off at work, or in public, people kind of look funny. I can see it in their eyes, they’re wondering. But at least I’ve managed to get that far. My attitude now, when it comes to exposing my chest in public, has become: “Screw it.” If somebody isn’t happy with how my chest looks, they can look the other way, and that’s the end of it. And it took me years to get the confidence to be able to say even that.

    Now that’s one part of the problem. But there are others. How do I get over my fears long enough to be in love with a woman? Will I ever be blessed with a family? If I’ve never loved myself, how can I possibly expect someone else to?

    That’s my next round with the Demon. But you know something? He’s not going to win. I’ll be damned if I let him take anything more from me. From this point on, he’s going to start giving ground, because I’ve given all the ground I can. He pushed me to the brink, to the point where I wondered if I should even bother going on with life itself. At some point, I realized that I didn’t want to look back on my life and see that through all those years, I let the Demon get the upper hand, that he ran the show while I danced to his mocking tune. And that’s when I knew I had to start fighting back.

    I hope this post encourages some of you to do the same. And when you decide that you’ve had enough, that you want your life back, and that you’re going to strap on the gloves, just know that I’m in your corner.

    Kick ass, take names, and somehow we’ll get out of this all right.

  35. 35 Pectus sux
    July 8, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    Its good to know im not alone. Summer is the worst season for me because every other guy wit their shirt off is normal but me. I feel like goin up to them n sayin u rely dont know how lucky u are. I feel like its literally ruining my life as well. Idk im 21 yrs old n hoping for the surgery but i doubt ill be able to afford it. Pectus excavatum sucks.

  36. 36 NorthernLight
    July 12, 2010 at 10:23 PM

    Hello everyone! My son just had his pectus carinatum repaired 2 weeks ago. He is thrilled with the results as am I. We were also told by 2 doctors that the procedure is basically cosmetic, however, due to psychological issues it can cause, the procedure is covered under our health care here in Canada. I am very thankful for that alone. Not one thin dime left my pocket.
    My son’s surgeon is absolutely astonished at his recovery. He was on morphine in the hospital, but basically only took advil for a few days after discharge. He says it only really hurts him when he laughs 🙂 He is very glad he had the procedure done. In his case, there were 8 ribs detached and cartilage removed. His chest looks perfectly normal. His scar is long, but so thin that I think over time it will fade quite nicely. As my son said, he would take the scar over the “lump” any day.
    We also discovered he has mild scoliosis and this condition will continue to be monitored, but the PC is gone.
    Just wanted to share our experience over the last few months.

  37. 37 Runs
    July 14, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    Hey Pectus sux…..Ever want to talk I’m here. And yea summer is alway so bad specialy when its close to 100. we got to 98 today. Too much sun causes cancer anyway. Hope everything else with you is going good.

    Hey Northernlight…Glad you son is doing so well and is so happy with his results.
    All my very best to him and the rest of his healing goes so well. Couldn’t be happier for him and you.

  38. 38 PE guy
    July 25, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    I also have PE and yeah i totally agree that its like a demon but i get used to it..i cant take-off my shirt in front of others,but that’s my life. I live in Philippines with no enough money to have some surgery..carrying this demon for almost 20 years.

    but to think it over, we the PE people is blessed that we’re born with such deformity than others who was born with no legs,no arms,etc.

    for me i will live and die with this demon in me.. =)

    by the way nice forum.

  39. July 25, 2010 at 8:50 PM

    If you are able to look at more unfortunate people and think that having PE makes you blessed well then that is great. A very positive attitude. To be honest, I was far too selfish about my own situation to ever feel less upset about my PE by considering the misfortunes of others.

  40. 40 Bryan
    August 9, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    I am 32 years old and have had a mild case of PE since my teen years; this deformity has made me never want to take my shirt off in public or go swimming in front of others. Although, I’m sorry other people are in the same situation as I am, I’m glad to know I’m not alone. Next time I want to go swimming and think twice, I’ll remember what I learned here and greatly consider going for a shirtless dip in the pool. This forum has really helped me out! Thanks!

  41. 41 Pectus sucks
    August 19, 2010 at 9:01 AM

    Im a 16 year old girl and my surgery or doctors told me today it was completely up to me to have the surgery or not. I want too have the surgery b/c i hate the way it looks im so self conscious about it! But i also dont want to have it because im scared of how much it will hurt. thank you so much for this website

  42. 42 James
    August 23, 2010 at 2:29 AM

    Hi there,

    Been intrigued by your story as it mirrors that of mine somewhat. I have PE along with a mild case of prune belly syndrome and came across this on my travels through the net as I have been having issues with flared ribs over the past few years and was looking for some answers. I have not had any surgery since i was 5 (i’m 28 now) and really dont have a clue what is going on and past visits to the doctors have helped very little as my gp does not have any answers for me. About 3 years ago I starting getting into shape and excercising along with doing weights and it seems to have had a detrimental effect on my ribs as they stick out much further and cause me pain usually whilst in bed. My prune belly syndrome which is extremely rare means I have little abdominal muscles and doesn’t go well with my flared ribs and have been getting increasingly more self concious in recent months. Any advice would be grealy appreciated.


  43. 43 a mom who loves her son
    August 28, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    thank you for this website my son is 9 and for the past couple of years he has realized he is different than the other boys and sometimes get teased . i just hate it i wish he was “normal” and did not have to go through a sense of being “weird”. its so hard to fit in other wise. we have already talked with a doctor and agreeded we would keep a watch on it. the doctor says the time that he could get surgery done , is when he is a teenager. i see that you got your at 42 at what age do you believe is an appropiate age? my son becomes very sad and wants surgery now. i told him when kids tease you that you tell them ” i don’t like it either,but i was born that way” i know he could have a far worse condition. however we all hate to see our children unhappy.
    thank you for speaking out. i wish more people where aware of this PE

  44. 44 Will
    September 22, 2010 at 8:48 AM

    I’m 16 and have had the condition as long as I can remember. Mine is mildly severe but it wont affect my actual physical condition. But like you I’ve been teased and made fun of, or even worse people get all awkward and weird around me without a shirt like people typically do around other deformed persons. It’s taken a psychological toll on me as well, as I’ve begun to base my life around avoid removing my shirt. I’m considering getting the surgery but I’m not quite sure how extreme the pain is and whether or not it’s worth it. Thanks for the info though, this really has helped me come to terms with the fact that I have “The Dent” (or “the Hole” as I and my friends call it).

  45. 45 Reece
    September 24, 2010 at 3:12 AM

    Hi there Pectus dude, I really love your website! I was just wondering whether you could give me any information about the costs of the operation? I would be very grateful.

  46. 46 Anonymous
    September 24, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    Hey Will,
    Lots and lots of people around the world have pe so you are not alone. We understand you.

    Hello Reese,
    Most people use insurance to cover the costs. It all depends on where you live.

    All the best……………runs

  47. 47 Polly Radcliffe
    October 8, 2010 at 8:37 PM

    Hi there, like others I was glad to find your site. My 12 year old son has pectus excavatum – it’s only really become noticeable in the last year. We had a referral with a paediatrician 6 months ago who organised for him to have a whole spine x-ray. His view is that it is only cosmetic but my son is increasingly bothered by it and becoming self-conscious about taking off his shirt. I have read a bit about the Nuss procedure and understand that recovery can be long and I guess one would have to balance up several months (?) of not being able to do sport with long term gain. I would really appreciate getting your opinion and wonder if I can send you a photo of my son’s chest. Any info about centres of excellence in the UK or particular specialists here would also be appreciated (we live 50 miles south of London but can travel)

    Many thanks


  48. 48 Nancy
    October 18, 2010 at 7:24 PM

    Hi there,
    my niece have pectus excavatum, she is incredibly shy and i think the condition is aggravating her shyness even more. the doctor she was referred to seem very dismissive and told her she have to wait until she is much older i believe about 18. what is the ideal age for an operation to correct the hollow chest? any advice ?

    kind regards


  49. 49 Robbie
    October 24, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    Hi im Robbie i also have pectus I will never get this surgery and will neverl let pectus get inside my head. Unless its causing you a physical detriment it only has the power you give it I admit I do sometimes wish i did not have it but Im very happy with myself and who I am and I could care less if someone thinks my chest looks a little odd.

  50. 50 kontikki5
    October 31, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    Man talk.

    any of you guys exeperienced “troubles” in bed because of your PE condition?
    And i mean strictly physical, not mental. We all now from the mental perspective how much we fight with ourselves..
    I see married guys here with PE. How is your sex life with PE?


  51. November 3, 2010 at 1:48 AM

    November 2, 2010 at 11:19 PM
    I just happened on to your web site. I was reading Cindy’s story dated May 26, 2010 and would like to know the results of her trip to Childrens Hospital in Norfolk, VA. Her story is very similar to mine.

    My grandson, who is now 17 years old, had PE since birth but was never diagnosed as sever. The highest on the Heller Index was 3.0, I believe, but he was very conscious of it and, from age 8, continued to as when he could get”his chest fixed”.

    All the doctors that he was referred to either recommended “do nothing” or have the Ravich Procedure which is radical surgery(often complications). At that point I started researching the web and found out about the Nuss Procedure and Dr. Donald Nuss at Childrens Hospital of the Kings Daughters in Norfolk, VA. I placed a call and set up an appointment in May, 2008 and surgery was scheduled for August, 2008. The hospital submitted the information to the insurance company for preapproval, expecting a fight since it was not a sever case, but to our surprise they approved it. I don’t remember the cost and it is not cheap but you can call the hospital and they could give you an estimate.

    He had the surgery in August, 2008 and will go back March, 2011 to have the bar removed. I can not say enough about the doctors and staff at CHKD. My grandson’s chest is fully developed and is a 6’3″ 210 lb self confident young man.

  52. 52 Ryan
    November 14, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    Great post Pectus Dude. I really appreciate you taking the time to speak up on this issue. I’m 26, and have had dealt with PE for as long as I could remember. I’ve always felt different from other guys but also knew that I WAS different. My chest is noticeably hollow and I’ve had friends point it out to me whenever I had my shirt off. I just brushed it off though because there was nothing I could do about it.

    Well now that I’m older I’ve decided that I owe it to myself to get it fixed. I’ve lived too long trying to ignore it when it’s such a huge internal struggle for me. I think that sometimes I’m just being too vain with myself and I should just deal with it, but why live life in this constant misery? I’ve made it good for myself thus far in life, I’ve graduated college, have a good job, etc. And I just feel as though having a normal chest is a hindrance on my self esteem and outlook on the future. It’s surprising how a hollow chest can be so impactful on one’s life.

    Anyway Pectus Dude, I was hoping if you could provide any information regarding the actual insurance, hospital, surgeon, costs side of this procedure. I find myself surfing the web and never being able to find any useful information regarding costs of PE surgery. I live in california and am looking into Dr. LoSasso in San Diego.

    Once again, to me cost is irrelevant and I can’t imagine myself spending money on a house, new Lexus, etc. Without fixing this problem first. I don’t really care if it drains my whole bank account for that matter. I’m sure that the personal satisfaction of overcoming this “disease of the mind” will be more than worth it.

    Thanks again

  53. 53 Norbert
    November 16, 2010 at 7:31 AM

    I also have this uneven chestbone. I think it is Pectus Carinatum. Left chest is higher than the left. Please guys correct me if I am wrong. I want to correct this deformity but I could not afford to undergo surgery. Maybe guys you know where can I buy brace for my chest correction. I am living in the Philippines, before I don’t mind having Pectus problem but now it seems that it bothers me because sometimes I feel uneven or I am having problem in my breathing/post. Thanks a lot

    here is my e-mail.

    God bless us all.

  54. 54 C Fitz
    November 24, 2010 at 3:06 AM

    Dear Ryan,

    My son had surgery for pectus carinatum at age 16. You live in San Diego, however, whomever needs a really good surgeon for carinatum or excavatum, at the UCLA Medical Center is Dr. Stephen Shew, who has performed many pectus surgeries. I would trust Dr. Shew with anyone’s child or with any adult who is considering pectus surgery. During your appointment and for any follow-up, he will answer patiently any questions you may have, he is not one of those higher-than-thou doctors at all! Very knowledgeable, very down to earth, and very kind. Google his name for information as to his ratings and what he does. There are also other surgeons at UCLA who perform pectus surgeries. Best of luck and good fortune to everyone on this thread.

  55. 55 Aidan
    November 30, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    im 15, almost 16 and i believe i have developed this condition… i was teased just as severly as you. sometimes when your caught out, you have to come up with strange excuses just to hide what you have. i still find it embrassing and i am looking into surgery. im scared about cost, if insurance fixes it could you please respond. im wanting to know how painful the nuss procedure could in fact be. i honour your openness and you make me feel less like a outcast

  56. 56 Olive
    December 6, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    Hello Pectus Dude, and tanks for your website! I’m a 31 year old girl with PE. I’m from Switzerland , so excuse my English! I have terribly suffered bc of that *** PE since I was around 12. 3 years ago I went to see m’y doctor and asked him about that, but hé gave me that same answer you got: “it’s nthg, it isn’t dangerous blah blah blah…” then I saw a specialist and he told me that since I was a girl people really see it

  57. 57 Olive
    December 6, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    Sorry I dis sthg wrong! I continue:
    So thé specialist said peuple could NOT really see it… Yeah right. Anyway, I didn’t go any further into that, since I wanted to have kids soon. I am now thé mother of an adorable 3 month old boy. Thé 1st thing I asked doctors at hospital was Wether he had PE. They said probably not. But last week I saw this hole in his chest… And since then I can’t help thinking about it. Hé is so cute, it’s so unfair… I feel so sorry for him it is terrible. Now I’m really depressed, and nobody understands why. I Will do anything to have this horror fixed as soon as possible.

  58. 58 Conor
    December 8, 2010 at 6:36 AM

    Hey Pectus Dude 😀 I am 14 years old and I have PE. On 13Th December 2010 I’m going to see a Cardiothoracics doctor about it. I think my PE has got a little worse over the years but I only started to notice it about 3-4 years ago. I really want the surgery and I have done quite a lot of research about the Nuss Procedure and PE. I am just worried that the NHS will not accept me and will not give me surgery. I don’t know if my PE is severe or not. I’ve seen some very severe cases and mine is nothing compared to them, so it makes me wonder if mine is very mild or if theirs is extremely severe.

    This website helped me a lot so, Thankyou!
    Conor 😀

  59. December 8, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    Thank you to everyone for all the comments. In order to better facilitate discussion, I have created a free community forum for people affected by pectus deformities. If you would like to participate, please feel free to visit

  60. 60 Dave
    December 31, 2010 at 5:11 AM

    I appreciate this site and the openness of everyone. I’m 74, have a very deep depression in my chest (don’t know about the Haller Index, but mine is about 2 1/2″ deep), and the lower chest bones protrude quite a bit, making that part of my chest stick out further than the upper–even after developing my pecs quite a bit! In my childhood I don’t think anything much was known about a cure for this problem and I have lived all my life very self-conscious about my appearance. It’s impossible to hide under most shirts and, of course, is extremely obvious without a shirt. I have tried to accept it through the years and to compensate by keeping my body very fit. I’m naturally very thin (6′ 150#) but fairly wiry. My main concern 30 years ago was with the Marfan Syndrome, after I learned about it. PE is one noticeable symptom of this, along with thin, extremely long bones. It’s a disorder of the connective tissue and often exists within the heart, causing sudden death when the weakened artery bursts. I’ve had numerous tests over the years and do not show any other signs of this syndrome. But I usually warn those who mention PE to look into it. I’m much too old to think about the Nuss surgery, and wonder if it even would have been possible when I was younger due to the extreme nature of my PE. Never in my life have I seen anyone else with this, at least to the extent that I have it. So it’s amazing to read all these accounts now.

  61. 61 Steelchest
    January 4, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    I am 21 years old and just underwent the pectus surgery 2 weeks ago. For those worried about the pain, I can tell you that although the first week is very painful, it has gotten much better over the past week and I am off of pain medicine completely now. I realize that it is different for everyone, but for me, a few weeks (or months) of pain is well worth a lifetime of happiness and confidence. And for those of you worried about the cost, check with your insurance provider. Mine was considered “cosmetic” and was still covered by insurance fully. I hope this helps those of you making the choice.

    Best wishes

  62. 62 Kiwi
    January 12, 2011 at 7:08 AM

    I first realised i wasnt normal when i was 13 and we were getting changed for gym glass (all boys school) and my good mate looked at me and asked me what had happened?, i didnt know what he meant then he pointed out the difference to me. Mine isnt severe but its there and i notice it, now i never got bullied for it i did quite well with friends and had plenty of girlfriends, but i was always worried that a girl would not like me when they found out about it so i would often let them know fairly soon rather than later, i was amazed that they didnt care. But it was my own personal demon and i did care i hated myslef for it i hated seeing this frak of nature in the mirror, why couldnt have a mans chest?? it was hard for me. Im now 25 have a beautiful girlfriend who ive been with for 2 years now it doesn bother her at all, i still dont like it but ive become stronger and its made me who i am today. I do think about getting it fixed but ive got this far and it hasnt stopped me from doing a lot ( younger days not swimming and so on) . Good friends helped me, when we would go swimming ( i would have a couple beers to build the courage haha to take my shirt off ) they would say if anyone says anything to you we will sort them out and no one ever did anyway which surprised me. Great web site good place for people like us.

  63. 63 harvy
    January 13, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    Does anyone know the cost of that surgery??thanks

  64. January 17, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    Mine cost 20,000 Euro is Berlin in 2009.

  65. 65 Catalina
    January 17, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    PE has def made me extreamly self concious. I cant bring myself to go to any pool party’s and such which sucks since im 16.None of my friends know, because I have learned to cover it up but i get extreamly self concious when someone pokes my stomach or tickles me. My doctor has given me the opportunity to get surgery, and i want to have it, the only thing holding me back is the physical pain the surgery is going to cause. I still have not fully decided if i am or not gonna have it. I think i will, because in the end it will be worth it. i dream of a day were i can wear all types of clothes and not feel self concious, of a day were i can find a nice dress for formal without having to worry about my PE. It has also prevented me from being in relationships because i am just so embarrassed by it. Thank you PE dude for putting this webpage up. It’s nice to see im not alone in this struggle with PE.

  66. 66 jevo
    January 19, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    is there any hospital here in asia doing a nuss procedure??

  67. 67 Johny
    January 27, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    Im 42 and from Australia, not many doctors want to perform surgery on PE down here. I have been body building for 20 years to try and hide my PE and the doctors I have seen have said my bones are very hard and would need to keep the Nuss bar in for about 5 years. Pain??? how much pain? would I have pain for 5 years? or just a few months?
    thanks Johny

  68. January 29, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    Hi Johny,

    I had my surgery at 42 in Berlin. I was in pain for quite a few months but now and completely pain-free (at 20 months). I now work out much harder and heavier than I did before surgery.

  69. February 10, 2011 at 2:21 AM

    Last march I had my entire chest cavity rebuilt to fix my pectus. I had been to dr’s for over 5 years because I would pass out, black out, and have chest pain several times a day. None of the doctors believed this was happening as a result of my pectus because my deformity wasn’t that bad. Februrary of 2010 I had a cardiovascular MRI to evaluate the pectus, the dr called two days later and wanted to do surgery. Although my pectus wasn’t severe, it was pressing directly on my heart. So, on march 12, 2010 I had surgery to break my sternum, flip it over, remove the deformed cartilage around my ribs and sternum, and screw the sternum and two titanium plates to my ribs. It’s been almost a year and I am doing great!

  70. 70 Saoirse
    February 10, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    Hellooo !!
    I’m getting the Nuss Procedure done this June- the only thing I’m nervous about is the pain, I hear it’s unbearable. That scares the crappp out of me ! I’m an 18 year old girl, & I’m kind of a baby, but I NEED to get it done!! Any feedback or information about the pain from women who have had the procedure done?!

    Thank you ❤

  71. 71 Saoirse
    February 10, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    By the way- Catalina, we are nearly the same person. Everything you said in your post, I can COMPLETELY relate to, 100%, i feeel the exact same way about EVERYTING you said. Thats crazy, I don’t feel so alone anymore hahah 🙂

  72. 72 Tony B.
    February 26, 2011 at 1:39 AM

    Thanks for this site, my friend. I can certainly relate to alot of your experiences. I’m 40 now but I spent my entire childhood and teen years avoiding swimming pools and beaches. At around 10, a Doctor told my mother and I that the condition was “no big deal” and that the worse thing about it was that I’d never get to be a “Hollywood star or model”. We both know that the psychological toll is much more than that. In spite of my severe PE, I excelled in boxing and won many amateur bouts. Turning pro was never an option for me, as pros go shirtless while amateurs do not. The shame would have been too much. Just one example of how my life had to be tailored because of “The Demon”. I laughed out loud at your refering to PE as The Demon, as I had always called mine “My Curse”. I joined the Navy at 18 and was taunted mercilessly by my C.C.s (the Navy equivalent of the Drill Sgt.)in boot camp. I got no flak from my peers because they were also terrified by the C.C.s and probably because I was already known for my fighting prowess. At 22 while stationed at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, I was approached by some Doctor friends who I’d told about my PE and they told me that they would like to try a surgical correction for me. Free of charge at the Naval Hospitals thoracic surgery clinic, of course. With nothing to lose, I did it. At first it seemed to be completely corrected. But within a year or two, the dent (while less extreme) seemed to re-form itself. Now I’m left with a slightly less pronounced dent, but also a scar and a constant ache (not bad pain, but just an ache) in my chest. While not completely unhappy with the result, I’m not sure if I’d do it again. The worst part of life was when it came time to be intimate with females. While I could hide my PE fully clothed, I would be so fearful when the time would come to get naked for the first time. The truth is that most of my partners didnt seem to mind too much and I had many girlfriends in my heyday. There were a few, however that were taken aback and repulsed at the bizarre sight before them. I didnt hear back from those ones…:) I’m married now to a wonderful woman and have 4 children. They are 14, 10, 2, and a newborn. The reason for the long gap between the first 2 and the second 2 is because I wanted to be sure that they wouldnt inherit my curse before I brought more into the world. None of them show evidence of PE and my mother assures me that mine was obvious at just a few months old. I’m very happy about this. Thank you for sharing your story. Were out here…….:)

  73. 73 Tony B.
    February 26, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    And BTW, for you young kids who have posted on here, I feel your pain and know exactly how you feel. It always helped me to cope when I considered how lucky I was in other ways. There were times when I would cry alone and wonder, “why me?” “what did I ever do to anyone to deserve this curse?”. But then I’d see a kid in a wheelchair. Or a blind kid. Or one with Downs Syndrome. It made me realize that while I may not be as close to “perfect” as many of my peers, my challenge was nowhere near what some of those other kids faced. Be as confident as you can be and sharpen your skills in other areas. It gets easier….:)

  74. 74 brittany
    March 7, 2011 at 4:52 AM


    My sister had the Nuss procedure as well. A doctor told my parents about it when she was little, but he didn’t know about the Nuss procedure and told them the only way to fix it was to crack her ribs and reset them. Of course, my parents couldn’t stand the thought of that and since it was mild then, just thought it was something that wouldn’t hurt her. Hers went to the severe level during her teen years as well and she began to have a very hard time breathing. She had the procedure done at 25 years old in Dallas Tx.

    I just thought I would share, and for the record, I’ve never thought it freakish or bad or embarrassing. I didn’t have it of course, but my sister was a jokester and would hide things in her chest hole (lol) and always make a joke about it.

  75. 75 Courtney
    March 16, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    Hello Pectus Dude,

    I cannot thank you enough for the amount of effort and dedication you have put into this site. I am truely grateful with everything that you’ve done up to this point.

    As a 23 year old female, I am currently suffering from the effects of a 5.3 deep PE. I too, received little help from my family doctor and it wasn’t until I was 20 when I finally decided to go out and find a thoracic surgeon myself. I am proud to say that I will be having my surgery on May 5th of this year from one of the best surgeons in Canada. I’m stoked!
    I’m tired of missing opportunties, hiding myself, being ridiculed in public, and being restricted from doing certain sports because I don’t have the stamina. I’m done dealing with the ignorance of my friends and family…and family doctor, and I just want to move forward from here on.

    Thank you again for establishing this site. It is greatly appreciated.

  76. 76 Ryan
    April 28, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Does anyone know the current costs of the Nuss procedure in California? I’m wanting to get this done as soon as possible now. At this point everything in my life seems secondary to this issue I have with my chest. Thanks to anyone with financial info

  77. 77 Alicia
    May 9, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Hi Pectus Dude!

    I randomly came across your site through some research into PE. I’m 22, a young girl, and have it pretty bad (I guess I’m a 5.5 on that index?). I’m in the process now of prepping for the Nuss Procedure and am pretty scared, but very reassured by people like yourself who have been there and done that and come out fine 🙂 Also I fully agree these doctors saying “oh it’s just comestic, they’ll get used to it” deserve to be slapped!! No one bothered mentioning I had PE until an offhand remark by a nurse when I was 17. Still no one suggested I repair it until it became obvious I could no longer function properly.

    My question is how were you able to manage the pain afterwards? Any tips? I unfortunately am unable to tolerate any sort of narcotic (Percocet, Vicodin) and am scrambling to think of how else it might be managed. (By ‘unable to tolerate’ I mean to say Percocet essentially killed me when I last took it!)

  78. 78 Pectushater.
    May 11, 2011 at 7:01 AM

    Hello everyone,
    I am 14 years old and I have pectus excavatum.
    It kills me in the inside to think of what I have on the outside. Every second of the day, it controls me. Sometimes I break down and just cry because I wonder “why” . I am hoping to have surgery this summer, hopefully it will follow though. It really heps me out to know you guys write all this. It actually feels like you wrote it just for me.
    I to have been made fun of for my chest. But I am going to be a model. I work out vigorously every singe day. I have all my abs. It is just that damn sunken look that gets to me. Again, thank you all, because without you I would know NOTHING about my condition.

  79. 79 Spencer
    May 30, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    reading this reminds me of a lot of similar experiences I’ve had. being called names, having low self-esteem, and of course the one that really bugs me-What do girls think of it? Because of this “demon” it has diminished my pride and instead brought harm upon me. But you my friend, you have brought me inspiration. I am only 15, and my parents and I have been consulting different doctors. I may receive the Nuss Procedure over the summer. If you could e-mail me with some incite and a few more things worth mentioning about it that would be great.It really helps to know that so many other people feel the same way about it as I do. May we all overcome the demon!!!


  80. 80 Todd Smith
    May 31, 2011 at 6:56 AM

    Hi. I’m 28 years old and just had the nuss procedure 4 weeks ago. I had a Haller Index of 6.1. Like you, I was always told not to worry about it. (Until 2 months ago) I had my first CT and found out my right ventricle was as flat as a pancake. Im an avid Triathlete (completed 6 triathlons last year) but always became
    short of breath faster than everyone. The Dr’s say there’s no explanation of how I could push myself the way I could. But I now, (after the surgery) I can breath so much better. Thanks to this website, I pursued a Thorasic Surgeon and had my PE corrected.

  81. 81 marko vasquez
    May 31, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    hi everyone;

    my name is marko, im 17 years old, im from peru and i was operate because i had or i usually had pectus excavatum, the operation was very painfull, i was operate by the nuss procedure, the first week is awfull, but when you see your pectus, you start to feel great, rigth now im so happy, my operation was until 1 month, and i know i have to wait, i cant wait to go to the gym and do everything that i want, so i have to thank you rick, your experience was terrible, but the result is so much better, greetings from peru


  82. 82 jackie
    June 6, 2011 at 2:35 AM

    Hi everyone,
    I took my daughter to the doctors when she was 2 years old as i noticed her chest was sunken in she was sent for a xray and i was told she has a bone missing from her chest and was nothing much could be done till she was older. I few weeks ago now age 14 she complained about sore ribs i told her back to the doctors and she was sent for a xray this was the 1st time i was told she had Pectus Excavatum. All the doctor said was she was lucky as she was female and has now devoloped a chest you dont notice it so much, but you do her top of her ribs stick right out, so has never wanted to wear strappy summer tops or likes going swimming unless she wore a tshirt over her swimsuit, and that was from a very young age we have always said to her thats her special bit, but now she is older doesnt really work, now waiting for results of the xrays to see want will happen next, so glad i found out the name and came across this page thank you all and take care x

  83. 83 Jeremiah
    June 19, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    I’m 15 years old, and I also have a pectus.
    I think the EXACT thing that happend to you (pectus dude) has happened to me. When i was twelve i went to the pool with “friends”, at this point i didn’t think my chest had anything wrong with it. Well as i’m sure you all are probably thinking on that day i got a rude awakening. Not only do i have a SEVERE case of pectus excavatum, but also I’ve been diagnosed by doctors with Marfans syndrome ( . I feel like a freak. Every time my friends ask me to go swimming with them i cower, and i think to myself “Jesus Christ whats wrong with me!? When i was little there was nothing i loved more!” They say my chest “Won’t get any worse” and that “It doesn’t matter” BULLSH*T! I’m scared about surgery, I don’t know whether i should have it or not. I’m lucky enough though to have ditched that group of “friends” i had for a new group that respects and supports me. I suppose thats one step in the right direction

  84. 84 Jen
    June 25, 2011 at 1:56 AM

    I am 40 yo female who is undergoing the procedure on Aug 9th. I am scared to death and also soooo very excited! I have a 5.7 haller index score but my pit is right in the middle… on top of having my pit I have an undiagnosed connective tissue disorder and scoliosis. This will be my 9th surgery I am putting off three other surgeries so I can get this taken care of (lt thumb fusion, rt shoulder correction from a botched surgery and left ankle) it has become m #1 priority. I had to fight my insurance to pay for this as they kept saying it was “cosmetic” so my surgeon sent a mri and a ct to them and was approved in two days! I have never met anyone with a pit as large as mine lol my children have mild forms of it but my youngest is fourteen and hitting a growth spurt hope it does not sink it any more. Thanks for the laughs 🙂

  85. 85 pectusandproud
    June 27, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    Listen to me,
    I have PE as well, and IT IS NOT WORTH THE SURGERY. If it is not pressing on your lungs, don’t even worry about it. I am 18 years old and I am proud to have PE. I take advantage of it, for example did you know you can eat cereal out of it while lying down? Or if you pour water in it, it can double as a cup! Listen, Jacob and anyone else considering surgery: Do you really want clinical surgeons (NOT HEART SURGEONS) working so close to your heart and lungs? It is an indented chest, so what? Oh, and Pectus Dude, that is great that you are rebuilding your confidence, but how do you know that this bully wouldn’t have made fun of you for other things? It is clear that this kid was trouble, so I am sure he would have found different flaws of yours. I suppose I am taking another approach in my life, and accepting myself for who I am. It is easy to find flaws in yourself, but the real challenge is accepting those flaws, as nobody is perfect.

  86. June 27, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    I completely disagree with you. The surgery was completely worth it for me. My heart was compressed against my spine and my life would have been cut short at least 10 years if I have not had the surgery. Add to that the emotional relief that the surgery has given me and I can tell you, without reservation, that the surgery was the best thing that I have ever done. No question.

  87. 87 Alicia
    June 28, 2011 at 1:35 AM

    Fully agree with Pectus Dude here. This surgery is both life-altering and life-saving — mine has sunk to such a level, I have already had a prolonged episode of Atrial Fibrillation (something that simply doesn’t happen in young and fit females!) and this episode happened as a result of having PE. It puts you at great risk for an arrhythmia, debilitating PVCs, cardiac strain, decreased pulmonary output, etc. I’ve even seen documents suggesting a greater than average risk of heart attack. Every time I get a cold, I have to be filled with asthma medications.

    To me, this is not worth continuing on with. The temporary (though lengthy) pain of the Nuss Procedure is worth it to me if I can avoid all these things and cure some of them (in my case, the painful palpitations and fainting). And yes, I can say for a fact that in my case, the bullying was due to my sunken chest. Funny how I went from a popular elementary school kid to being treated like a dog overnight when my PE became noticeable. Also that what the kids were teasing me about was the PE. Gym time was unbearable, both the activities that I could no longer keep up with and the locker room time where changing in the stalls up through high school became the norm for me.

    I will say yes, if your PE is only slight and does not interfere with your internal organs or otherwise wreck havoc, then don’t go through with this surgery. But if it does, DO IT. The outcome will far outweigh the negatives.

  88. 88 pectusandproud
    June 28, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    Just to clarify, I believe if it is not life threatening, don’t do it

  89. June 28, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    Well, I’m afraid your belief is totally incorrect. Severe pectus excavatum can certainly be life threatening. There are numerous heart-related issues and problems caused by severe and prolonged cardiac compression – including death.

  90. 90 connor
    July 4, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    Hi there:)

    am 17 years old and know exactly how you feel/felt.
    I’d put mine at about 4.0 on the haller index, so its fairly bad also, and i just hate it.
    I get out of the shower every day and there it is :[
    I have had quite a few girlfriends, and as you have described i never really enjoying the lovemaking. . .
    as i’m always trying to cover up my chest, same with going to the beach or the local pools.
    I am undergoing many tests at the moment at thoracic doctors etc so hopefully will be getting the surgery!
    was very good reading this finally someone who i can relate to,
    Thanks very much

  91. 91 conni
    July 7, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    Hey There!

    Does anyone experienced some bar `moving`? its just like the bar is moving and do noises when youre moving. I had the surgery 3 weeks before but i can feel and `hear` that the bar is moving and `vibrating`



  92. 92 #1 PE fan!
    July 21, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    Hey all,
    I found this article as I was reading about this. My beloved boyfriend has this and never let on that it bothered him (we had never discussed it) until one day I was lying with my head on his chest and told him I loved his chest. I do love his chest, and never thought of it as a problem, it was just the way he was. So then the floodgates opened, and I was amazed how badly this had affected him. He was also teased about it (why are kids so cruel??) and at nearly 40 years old he couldn’t believe that I hadn’t bolted for the door the first time I saw him shirtless (no chance, trust me 🙂 )
    Anyway, he has no MEDICAL problems from it and I was just looking to see how common it was for it to be passed on to children. Not that I would mind at all, unless it made them ill, but they would probably be bothered about it. But I read all the comments on here and just had to give you all my support. I know it’s hard (especially when you are young), but there is someone out there who will love your chests however they are and will like nothing more than to rest their head on it after making love to you (who are probably all nicer than average people for learning the hard way to care for others’ feelings).
    Please don’t worry what other people think, get it fixed if it is affecting your heart, but if you choose not to have surgery, just remember that decent people won’t think of you any differently either way.

    I have decided to stop wondering whether my children will have this and have resolved that whatever they are like, my main priority will be to make them care for other people and not be cruel. I would rather have a child/friend/partner with PE than one who was thoughtless.

    My very best wishes to all of you, hang on in there, and don’t be shy,


  93. 93 California
    July 25, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    HEY 🙂 i had the surgery two weeks ago and i definitely am experiencing that too, sometimes when i lift my arms up i can feel the bar moving, and it makes like a popping sound. Idk if thats suppose to happen or not, i havent gone to my checkup yet, but for the moment know that you are not alone! 🙂

    Growing up with pectus was always hard, it didnt really bother me until middle school, when everyones body was developing, mine looked deformed. I tried to hide it by not wearing a certain cut of shirt, wearing layers, no dresses, and certainly NO BATHIING SUITS!…saddly i am now a 16 year old that doesnt know how to swim… I decided to have the nuss procedure this summer because i was sick of feeling like made me feel almost shameful of how i looked. I had the operation 2 weeks ago, and as i am typing this i am still in physical pain. My sides and chest are all bruised up, and it hurts like hell to raise my arms. Before i got the surgery they told me it would be painful, but i never imagined it would hurt this much. More than anything, i am now having backspasms (probably because i can only lay on my back) It is the worst pain i could ever encounter, worst than the surgery pain. It feels like someone is stabbing me in the back with a huge knife and then twisting it while it is still inside my body. Unfortunately this happens every time i laugh, which is terrible because im one of those people that laughs all the time. Sometimes i regret having done the surgery because of the pain, but then i think of the future and how its not going to hurt forever and how my body now looks more “normal” whatever that means…and it makes me feel good that i went through with it. I feel as though, if i can go through this horrible pain and recover well, i can do anything!

  94. August 2, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    Thank you for this uplifting story. I am on a holiday in Turkey now and it’s hard for me to go swim or to do whatever without my shirt. I hope that on my age of 27 a nuss surgery or something else could be helpful to relieve my problem. I was feeling quite down after I got my first massage in a parlor and wanted to seek relief on the web

  95. August 2, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    also, Kate you’re an angel

  96. August 3, 2011 at 6:24 AM

    I feel like an egghead. I could of googled this a long time ago but have only decided to do this today because of an uncomfortable experience. I am on a holiday in Turkey, lot’s of sunbathing and everything which I can manage fairly as long as nobody stares at me. First (professional) massage ever and my self esteem is low because of a weird look of the girl. I’m tall and skinny, just within BMI-limits and without this condition I would reckon myself not te be unattractive. So for a long time I haven’t really cared. But then again my last girlfriend was a decade ago, and while I’m typing this I wonder if it’s my condition alone. But it’s not helping, the frustrating part is I could be more succesful with women if I had more confidence. This is only with women. I treat them with respect and always find myself reserved being too afraid things would evolve. And I don’t dare to make the next move, I haven’t for ten years. I think I’m just too afraid what they would think of me as soon as I would take of my shirt. There were moments but they never led to intimacy. My mind works funny in that way. I’m not shallow but looks do matter a bit, you don’t fall in love with everyone. And here I think I don’t stand a chance. After reading all of your comments and experiences I hope maybe things will change and I will get additional info as soon as I get home. I hope everyone finds their solution and if it hasn’t plagued your love life, I’m jealous.

  97. 97 =)
    August 4, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    Hi guys,
    Pectus Excavatum really messed with my self confidence as well… Im 24 and kinda starting to get over it, due to the fact all my long term partners havent minded… and i had friends that never really showed any interest in it and people generally dont tend to bring it up. I figured that the problem was more mental self punishment thing. I guess it’s an opportunity and build character. I also suffer from flaring ribs and it slightly pushes my stomach out abit, it’s not all bad it gives me motivation to go to the gym and build and lean and muscle figure to mask my chest and slightly pot belly, however i cant really do much about the ribs. I must admit im still very conscious about lying flat on my back because it makes me flaring ribs a lot more pronounced.. but i’m still mentally working on it.

    You guys seem to leaning torwards surgery rather than mentally beating it which is kind of tempting me as well.

    ahahah just reading up there is someone pectusandproud… damn dude i wish you could transfer some of your confidence to some of the people here. But he is right…. NOONE is perfect…. but then again some people do seem perfect physically. =S

    Mums out there fix your kids… looking back it was really no fun and it really cramped my style, or should i say i couldnt help but cramp my own style.

  98. 98 Rob Ontario Canada
    August 5, 2011 at 3:04 AM

    I’m now 43. In my early teens I noticed that my chest shaped was malformed and was diagnosed with P.C.. I had the evasive procedure surgery prior to the nuss procedure at Mount Sinai Hospital Toronto Ont. The procedure involved fairly large cut below the sternum and the shaping and clipping of rips followed by the use of metal clips that are left in place. This procedure came with extreme pain and drainage tubes for about a week. The procedure gave me good results but with a apparent scare that I had to explain at the beach etc..
    Depending how I twist my torso I feel a dumb pain to this day, so I limit my twisting and bending of torso.
    I consider anyone who is getting the new minimally evasive procedure lucky. It seems to have good results with less pain. Currently I am investigating the removal of my clips.

  99. 99 rubiks pectus
    August 13, 2011 at 12:59 AM

    Hi Kate,

    PE most certainly has a genetic component to it, and can be passed on. I have PE, and somehow, given the uncanny similarities between my experiences and most others with PE, I was able to find another human who could find me and this demon tolerable. I have 2 sons now, my first has a perfect chest, and looks like a young brad pitt, and it pleases me to no end to live vicariously and see him live with such confidence that I never had. My second son has just turned 2, and I see some Pectus forming, though not as bad as mine, and quite symmetrical. He is lucky to have me as his dad, if indeed this does progress into full PE…i know exactly how to fix it. No matter what, these 2 boys are the coolest gems in my life, and there are so many options now for mindful caring parents when dealing with this condition.

    good luck with your new family

    great site too pectus dude….thank you for that

  100. 100 Shawn
    August 13, 2011 at 3:16 AM

    Hey, I’m 17 and have a pectus excavatum… Swimming pools are the devil… when I was reading your article, I could understand your pain, and I know exactly how you feel. But I know that the pectus is just who I am, and its something I will have to live with. If people can’t accept it, then why would I want them in my life? I’ve had my lows, including tears, because of this demon, as you so worded it, its a burden, and it prevents me from running like I would oh so love to do… but I will push through it…

  101. 101 Alicia
    August 23, 2011 at 11:02 PM

    Hey all again!
    Just got Nussed in Seattle August 15th and it has been an amazing process so far. Thank you Pectus Dude for giving me some courage to go through with this! It’s already alleviated a lot of muscular pain I’d been having from the distortion PE puts on certain muscles, as well as eliminated the dysautonomia issues I’d been living with (low blood pressure, fainting, tachycardia, etc.)! The pain has been surprisingly tolerable. No epidural (got soaker catheters in my side instead, wonderful alternative and allows for mobility while in hospital) and only take 2.5 mg of oxycodone. Will be off that by friday! As a woman going through this, I plan on blogging it since there are so few resources to us! Will post a link when I can.

    For those out there facing the Nuss or debating it, DO IT. It’s such a life changer. My Haller ended up being a 7 and I’m 22, so not quite that young as most surgery candidates here. Yet the pain has been manageable, I’ve yet to cry even, and I feel so much healthier 🙂

  102. 102 ArmyGuy
    September 3, 2011 at 2:28 AM

    Hi, my name is Paul, im 20 years old and i to suffer from PE but ive learned to live with it and make the best out of a shity situation. We are all made equal as human beings so dont let your condition make you think any different. I will admit that i did have a slight discomfort with myself during my puberty years but i learned to realize that people really dont think that much about. I am so comfortable with myself now that i am even able to use it as an ice breaker with girls at a party, go to the beach(moderate discomfort still), shower in public, and engage in sexual activity with a woman without even realizing my chest. The only thing that i find embarrassing about it now is during sex if air gets caught in between my chest and hers it makes a fart or quiff sound, does anyone else have this problem? aside from a few quirks here and there PE has proven to be a gift not a curse, you just need to learn to relax and be comfortable with the way that god has made you.

  103. 103 Cheryl Cole DeLong
    September 8, 2011 at 4:58 AM

    Hi, My name is Cheryl age 48 and I just loved reading your story. Finally, I am NOT the only one. Not that I’m glad that this happened to you. I wouldn’t wish this agonizing slow physical and mental torcher on anyone..I had the Pectus Excavatum surgery at the age of 9 back in 1971 @ Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio, Texas . I was way different back then. My Sternum was and is still caved in to this day, all my ribs were also growing inward or as I say backwards..slowly suffocating me to death.. and pressure on my heart. I wasn’t suppose to over hear, when I was sent out in the hall, but I heard the doctors tell my parents I that I was going to die without the surgery and still might even with such a complex surgery. My surgery was long and pain and there hasn’t been a day of my life ever spent pain free. The doctors opened me up from top to bottom…cut all my ribs in half…wrapped desolving string of some type around all of them…they put a steel bar thru me, that came out of my body just under my armpits. (Shaped like a long pencil) Doctors took the string wrapped around all my ribs and tied them to this bar. I laid on my back , with this steel bar , the ends of it had corks as covers….hanging out under my armpits, my arms and elbows propt up on pillows for months I think, but it may have only been weeks. My spine curves like a backwards letter “C” towards the right and getting worse…..I was kept out of school for over a year and wasn’t aloud in gym class for even longer. I have learned that if a feel a need to sneeze to stand up straight, as when I sneeze my ribs lock up . My sternum is severely deformed and was not corrected, though ribs were operated on they also a still not right….A few years ago. I started having upper stomach problems. like heart burn feeling constantly…and I have always been a blane eater. My primary doctor had me get an MRI/Cat Scan…the results are, that some of my internal organs are not quite in their correct locations . I have been on years worth of constant prescriptions, for my stomach, for my sternum, rib and spine pain as well as muscle relaxers. But I continue to survive…Kids were cruel, before and after the surgery…and the only comfort I held within was knowing that even though I look like I do, I am ALIVE…..what I am wondering is…is this…is it possible to have the surgery again, with all the medical advancements that have evolved over the past 38/39 years.? I was scared to ask that question til now for fear of going thru it all again…. Reading your story and sharing a peice of my brought up both sad and happy tears…Thanks Sincerely, Cheryl

  104. 104 UAtraveler
    September 16, 2011 at 8:07 AM

    Hey, Everyone. I’ve really enjoyed reading the comments on this site, and what I’ve read has given me a lot of comfort. I just want to add my story to this as well.

    I’m a 33 year old male with PE. Ever since I developed PE as a teenager I worried incessantly that I would never find someone to marry me and that would make love to me. I, too, thought my body was too abnormal and not worth the time of day for anyone.

    I’m happy to report that one month ago tomorrow I was married to a beautiful woman, who loves me despite my sunken chest. She’s happy to make love to me and even rest her head on my chest when we’re watching a movie or lying in bed together. Unfortunately, I spent way too many years of my life worrying about my chest, and I hope others don’t let it monopolize their thoughts as much as mine did. I also worried about the size of my five inch you know what (thinking it was too small) for years as well, and both these worries were unfounded. My wife loves me just the way I am.

    I hope this gives some of you a bit hope. Everything’s going to be okay, and that’s not something I could say all that long ago, but I’m glad I can now.

  105. 105 Pedro
    September 29, 2011 at 8:11 AM

    Oh ,great history almost makes me cry… I am sad because I am 27 years old and I have PE too, since I was a child I have been the center of jokes, sometimes I was angry because of my deformity, I thought frequently Why it is happening to me.. Sadly, I am from Venezuela, and here I don´t have any specialist in chest surgery, every doctor have told me that this surgery is only for cosmetic purpose but I feel it is more than that, I needed a Psychologist because was very difficult to me start a conversation with a girl. Thanks for sharing your experience, now I know that is not too late to do a change, I going to save money to go to germany and meet your doctor.

    I only have a question. How much this surgery cost? Please I need this information because I am from Venezuela and I wouldn´t like to travel in vane.

    Thank you again because today I will sleep happy.

  106. 106 Anonymous
    October 9, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    great site! I’m just curious-were u ever able to get rid of the rib-flaring? how does one go about doing that?

  107. 107 Morris Schechet
    October 9, 2011 at 8:45 AM

    Guestgreat site! I’m just curious-were u ever able to get rid of the rib-flaring? how does one go about doing that?

  108. 108 Amy Booth
    October 11, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Hi Everyone!

    First, I want to say how brave you all are and follow up on what Kate (#1 PE Fan) said – anyone who is worth being with will love you for who you are – you are all beautiful. Someone close to me, and myself, have PE, mine isn’t very pronounced but hers is and I know how much emotional damage it can cause. For the record, she has learnt to love herself as she is and is more and more confident about her body. She doesn’t want surgery though she often talks about a lack of confidence and that she doesn’t see herself as beautiful (I think the body is incredible and beautiful – we are different, but different is fab!)

    I’m at university at the moment, studying Contour Fashion (Lingerie, Swimwear and Corsetry design and manufacture) and was appalled to learn that there’s been no development in the industry to design for people with PE who don’t want surgery. At the moment, I’m researching into it all and hoping to start designing for the woman I know because she deserves to feel beautiful too.

    And to everyone out there, people are often nasty because they are scared or don’t understand. Keep spreading the word! I am going to approach this from industry and hopefully raise a lot of awareness and support. We are all beautiful.


  109. 109 Amy Booth
    October 24, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    Hi man!

    I’m 21 with slight PE, someone close to me has it severely and she’s living with it as it is. She’s happy but very self conscious. I’m kinda proud to be a bit different but I understand the other side too – the low self esteem and being scared of what people think. But I just want to say, if someone likes you as a person – that’s what matters. I agree that looks are initially important – we’re very visual creatures, but what’s inside matters most. I know it can be so so hard, but love yourself for who you are, and when you meet someone who loves you like they should, they’ll love you as you are. People fall in love with personalities, not images. Surround yourself by people who love you.

  110. 110 Jen
    October 24, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    Hi ya’ll 🙂 I had my surgery in August and I still make clicking noises. It is beause my ribs that used to dislocate in the front are now shifing to the back and dislocating there and clicking against each other. I still have mild pain on my sides shere the bar went through but nothing i cant handle 🙂 I was on pain meds for about two weeks after surgery (only at bed time as meds make me sick) I love the results and I feel soooo much better they put me on low blood pressure meds because my BP i still low and i get dizzy and sometimes fall.


  111. 111 Rich
    November 1, 2011 at 5:59 AM

    Hey thanks so much for creating this site. I’m 30 years old and I just learned about PE today only cause a medical clinic doctor told me I had it during a exam. Feels good now knowing that I’m not the only guy with a sunken chest. Now I’m interested in the Nuss prosedure anyone know if Canadian health insurance covers the procedure? PE has always made me feel very uncoferable swimming or when I’m with a new girl friend. Thanks again

  112. 112 Amy Booth
    November 1, 2011 at 5:59 AM

    Hi everyone,

    I’m a student in England currently studying Contour Fashion – Lingerie, Swimwear and Corsetry and hoping to ask a really big favour. I’m trying to get some information on women with PE and their experiences first hand, and hoping to develop a bra that will fit and work with our body shapes. At the moment there’s nothing in the industry and I want to change that. If you are interested, or know anyone who might be able to help, please reply to this post.

    Thanks to you all, and to Pectus Dude for letting me post this,


  113. 113 Steph
    November 5, 2011 at 12:12 AM

    I am 24 and a woman. I thought I was alone. Yes it is a Demon that casued self hatred and loathing. It takes the happiness out of everything. I have thought about killing myself over it ever since I was a child. Only today have a learned the REAL name becasue I have also been lied to by doctors. I feel that having this as a woman as way worse becuse woman are exploited everyplace you go. I see them everywhere with thier little bikini tops and normal chests and I hate them because I will never look like that

  114. 114 Chris M.
    November 6, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    I’m glad to have read your story, I have had and still have a huge complex about my sunken chest. I used to be afraid to take my shirt off in public because of it. Although I have grown accustomed to my PE my self esteem still suffers. How much does a surgery like that cost? I would really like it if I had a normal chest. Thank you so much!

  115. November 6, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    Hi Chris – My surgery cost 20,000 Euro in October 2009. I had the surgery in Berlin.

  116. 116 Anonymous
    November 26, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    Hey, this was very inspiring. As a sufferer of PE I can relate to everything you have talked about. I wasn’t aware that this deformity was common. In fact I have never met anyone who has PE and it wasn’t until I seen a television programme about it earlier this year that I realised there are other people out there going through the same thing. I am 23 years old, I am very interested in getting treatment for PE because it does damage ones confidence, and can hold one back from engaging in a lot of things. Thanks for posting this, it was a good read.

  117. 117 Michael
    November 30, 2011 at 7:12 AM

    It’s always hard showing it to your partner. I’ve had only a few bad reactons, but mostly girls look really dissapointed when they see me with my shirt off. I’ve built muscle everywhere else, so they expect that I’ve got this cut-up chest. Instead, I have a severe deformity. I have very flared ribs, and no doctor was ever interested in measuring my dent, but from pictures I’d say it is moderate/severe. My pecs don’t gain muscle at the bottom at all, and my ribs make my stomach pooch out, especially when I breathe. If I wear several shirts, and put my shoulders back, and kind of suck everything in, it’s hard to tell. I’m good at hiding it. So I think women feel cheated when they see the ‘real’ me. But I’m not trying to trick people, I just don’t like people staring and talking about what’s wrong with me. But I live in a small Mid-Western town, and I think women know, because before I showed anyone, I didn’t have a problem with girls. But I think word got around, and I’m now ‘a good friend’ and nothing more. The last girl I was with said she didn’t care, but then turns out told a bunch of her friends that I was “Really deformed” and “Kind of gross”. So that really helps. I mean, WTF?

  118. 118 Donald
    December 1, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    Firstly, I would like to thank Pectus Dude for creating this amazing forum, where we can all get together and talk about our sunken chests. It was an awesome idea, and to be honest, I’ve been googling this for quite a while. Next, after going through this entire forum (2 years worth!) I have learned quite a bit. My favorite post was probably by Pectusandproud where he talks about making the best of a bad situation. I have had non-life threatening PE for all 19 years of my life, and I have stumbled upon quite a few obstacles with it. But as I post on this forum today, I feel like a changed person, for what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. If PE is life threatening, get the surgery, absolutely. If not, and if it is just a cosmetic thing or a confidence thing, Pectusandproud said it best when he posed the question, “Why would you want somebody putting a metal bar so close to your heart unnecessarily?” I have learned just this year, my freshman year of university, that everybody has problems with their body. Everybody has insecurities, regardless of who they are. My advice to you all is to focus on more important things, rather than worrying about being topless. Perhaps work on getting a 6-pack, and then it will draw people’s attention away from your pectus and to your abdomen. I hope I have inspired others to reconsider the surgery, to avoid unnecessary potential complications.

  119. 119 Eric
    December 5, 2011 at 7:41 AM

    @Steph. I’m a guy and I’m the same in a way. I have severe PE and everywhere I go I just feel like punching guy’s who have their shirt’s off. It’s a massive blow to my confidence and self esteem. I’ve never been without a shirt since I was a baby and even now still wear a shirt when I’m swimming to “Hide my Shame”. It can have a serious mental effect on you. My PE is fairly long and sinks in about 5cm (2inches) into my Strernum. Dr’s have brushed me aside to with it’s only cosmetic. I’m sure allot of people here share the same experience.

    Wanna know how I found about my PE? I was skiing and I hit a tree. Fractured three ribs. Due to having PE one of them moved in and crushed my heart slightly. When the medical assistant down there saw me the first thing he said was “Severe PE with symmetrical basis”. I instantly replied…What are you on about? Before that I had little to no idea it was severe nor was it called PE I just knew I had a stuffed up chest.

  120. 120 Ben
    December 6, 2011 at 6:03 AM

    Hey, some good info here. Im 27 and have P.E. and I have got a hellar index of 6. Im considering the nuss procedure, but only because I have had back and rib problems for the past year believed to be caused by my P.E. I was wondering if you have had these problems and could shed some light on the problem.

  121. 121 Noxi
    December 17, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    Hi there.

    Thank you so much for your brave and informative story. You have touched so many around the world.I’m in South Africa and never imagined this demon could ever be corrected.
    I first noticed this in my son 3 years ago.( He has PC) He is 15 now. I tried to reassure him n dismiss it as I didn’t even understand what it is. To be honest I was scared of it myself. You can imagine what he was going through. He has changes schools 3 times in 3 years because of teasing and beatings. Needless to say his confidence is non existent. .He becomes extremely depressed and questions his existence as he feels different and unaccepted. He has even been teases by his father.

    I did not know that this could be corrected until recently.The cardio thoracic surgeon who saw him over a year ago also dismissed it, exactly as in your case. I thought the doctor knew best n never even researched it till now. He will be going for surgery soon.I am so relieved.
    Please tell me about the lenghth of the scar. Black people scars become more prominent.Will the scar become another demon in your opinion?
    Thank you so much

  122. December 20, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    If your Haller is 6 then back problems will not be your only problem as you get older. Your heart is probably squashed against your spine with a Haller of 6 and you will eventually have heart problems.

  123. 123 DIGGY
    January 11, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    when i was about 7 years old i had the surgery and well i thought it would help me at the beach and around my friends …i thought wrong it really did not last to long… i now have a 8” scar going across my cheast and what looks to be a hole much deeper then i ever had…I really like to wish you all better luck then i had…I like to say it really s@cks it has been giving me a lot of back prob and it is so hard to sleep its been going on now for years demon is back….great story and good luck !!

  124. 124 ramon
    January 13, 2012 at 8:24 AM

    Hey sorry to bother, but can you help me spread the word? it is a donation page to help out the hospital i had surgery in. when u hit the link you’ll understand why they need donations. Thanks for your time

  125. 125 Danilo
    January 19, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Amigo, falo do Brasil, adorei o depoimento. Passo pelo mesmo, tenho 27 anos e pretendeo fazer a cirurgia em breve. Abraço.

  126. 126 PE MOM
    January 29, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    This is an enlightening site that I’ve explored several times over the last year as we’ve researched my son’s PE. He has a 5.2 Haller index, but no abnormal cardiac or pulmonary tests. He does feel discomfort now and then that might be inflammation or cartilage. He hasn’t participated in track as he feels he doesn’t have the endurance he once had, though there is no “proof” that there is any problem. He is 15. We’re kind of on the brink of deciding whether to pursue surgery, and I feel so torn. He says the appearance doesn’t bother him, and that he is concernened about the pain/stamina, but I don’t feel like we know for sure that those will even be corrected by surgery. I just hate for him to go through the pain, especially if he’s still left with discomfort (from a bar in his body). I am trying to take a long view and see that he’ll benefit over time, but I just don’t know. I guess we’re lucky that he doesn’t have lung/heart problems with a 5.2 index, so I’m thinking, can we leave it alone rather than have him undergo a painful surgery and risk actual damage to his heart?? He insists that the appearance doesn’t bother him, yet he seems eager for surgery. . .

    Ugh! I feel so torn. I almost wish the doctor did see a heart concern. That would make it easier for me to be behind the surgery 100%. I don’t want my son to think I don’t support him.

    I’d appreciate any words of wisdom.

  127. January 29, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    Dear PE Mom,

    I feel your anguish. He says it doesn’t bother him yet he wants surgery? Trust me – it bothers him. He may not admit it yet. It will bother him more and more as he gets older and becomes sexually active. I do not believe that with a Haller of 5.2 he will remain free of heart problems. The condition has a detrimental effect on the heart over time. I did not become symptomatic until I was in my late 30’s. I have been told by my surgeon that if severe PE remains untreated it may take 10 years off a person’s life expectancy. The only concern I would have for your son is having the surgery too early – as you don’t want the bar coming out until after he has stopped growing. At 15 he will bounce back from the surgery easily. He sternum is still pliable – unlike my calcified old sternum at 42. Having the surgery was the best thing that I have ever done. If I could go back in time when I was 15 I would jump at the chance to get it corrected. Do not underestimate the deep psychological impact this condition has on a young person. I know you are frightened for your son but he will thank you in years to come. Just make sure an experienced surgeon performs the operation. That is the most crucial thing.

  128. 128 PE MOM
    January 30, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Hi again,

    I appreciate your feedback. I have a lot of questions for the doctor, and I’ll add two from your response. One, are we doing this too soon. Two, the issue of future troubles and life expectancy. I think in my gut I know it’s going to be a good thing, but when I saw the surgery pictures in a brochure, I really felt physically ill. I had to have my husband cover the pictures with Post-it notes so that I could continue to read the brochure!

    I’ll let you know how we make out and what answers I get on my questions. Thanks again for your reply.

  129. January 30, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Unless the doctor you are seeing is a cardio-thoracic surgeon with many Nuss procedures under his or her belt, I would take his or her advice with a grain of salt. Most GP’s do not know what they are talking about. Why don’t you contact Professor Schharschmidt in Berlin. His email address is in a link on the right hand side of the page. Send him some photos of your son and ask him the questions that you have. He will be happy to respond to you.

    As to age, I think you could wait a couple of years. Check out some of the videos on youtube for a guy named Blake. I think he was 16 or 17 when he had his done. I have a link to his videos also.

    Before my operation I made the mistake of actually watching a video of the procedure. If the brochure pictures frighten you, then stay well away from the video. It is ghastly.

    Good luck to you and your son. I am sure all will work out as it should.

  130. January 30, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    Dear PE Mom,

    If you have not seen these videos from another guy named Blake (16 years old) – then you may like to take a look.

  131. 131 NJ's MOM
    February 5, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    Dear Pectus Dude, PE MOM and others,

    I just stumbled across this website. I will spend my free time reading everyone’s post. My son has PE. He is turning 11 next week on Feb. 9. I want to thank you for your stories and encouragement about the surgery, etc. My husband and I have taken our son to 2 cardiothoracic surgeons in the South Florida area over the last 3 years. We just saw the one we are comfortable with in Miami at Miami Children’s Hospital. The doctor’s name is Dr. Cathy Burnweit. We felt confident with her. He is too young for the surgery at this point.

    Like PEMOM, I am beyond terrified for my child to have this surgery. I think about this on a daily basis and sometimes it consumes me. I have spoken to a friend’s husband who is in his 40’s with PE. He never had it corrected and wishes he had. He told me that the psychological pain of having this his whole life has been worse than any surgery pain he would have endured.

    Thank you so much for your words and creating this website.

  132. 132 Craig
    February 11, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    Hi there!

    I’m glad i have found this website because now i dont feel like a freak or feel so alone with what i have been through in the past.
    I suffered with this as a child/ teen, and i had an operation 2 years ago to correct it.
    It is looking great now, but i am still very self consious about it.
    When i was younger i never noticed it until one day i was swimming and some random lad walked past me, looked at my chest and called me a “retard”.
    This scarred me for life!
    I also suffered abuse at school when people found out about my chest because nobody really knew what was wrong with me, they used to call me names and try to touch it.
    I never really took my t-shirt off because i was ashamed of myself, i didnt even sleep topless incase a family member walked in my room and saw it.
    I hated myself for many years until one day i had enough of the mental pain and self hatred and i decided to have it corrected, it was the best decision i have ever made!
    It was extremely painfull but it was so worth it.
    My girlfriend doesnt really understand about it, she thinks it was only a little bit sunken in, but it was very bad because it went in at the bottom and out at the top and it made me really short of breath and i used to pass out because of it.
    She made a joke about my appearance last night and she said she wouldnt want kids with me because they would come out disformed, she was only joking but it still hurt very much.
    Her comment brought back all the childhood memories from being bullied at school for it 😦
    I was just wondering if anyone would know the answer to my question here…..
    If i have children later in life, will they come out with a chest like i used to have or will they have a chance of feeling normal?

  133. 133 Greyhound
    February 15, 2012 at 5:23 AM

    I’ve had pronounced pectus for about 6 years now. It makes it almost impossible to breath sometimes and I get stabbing pains in my chest a lot. I’ve told all this to my parents but they think that it is just a cosmetic issue, and that i’m embarrassed by it, even though i’ve told just about everyone I know at school about it. I was wondering if there is a good way to show my parents that this actually is a real problem, and something that should be taken care of.

  134. 134 Jon
    February 25, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Hi everyone, I’m 23 years old and I have a mild case of PE

    My girlfriend told me that she accepts me for who I am and that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself for having PE. But it’s an everyday struggle. I told her I can live with the fact that I have PE, but not with the fact that it’s getting worse.

    I noticed my chest began to sink at the age of 11, on the left side. My parents didn’t see nothing wrong with me and the doctor told us that it was nothing to worry about….I had problem controlling my emotions from that day on..a smile quickly shifted into a frown, angry as I punched my bedroom wall with my bare fist every night until they bled.

    I felt like I couldn’t talk about it to anyone so I kept quit. I also had no friends, because I was ashamed of my self. I couldn’t stand in front of the mirror and I still hate watching myself in the mirror.
    A lot of things past me by because of PE…my first crush, I didn’t learn to swim..I’m lucky to even have a girlfriend because now.

    In my country PE is regarded as non-existent. Its like a taboo, no one talks about it. At 12 I urged my parents, practically begged them to take me again to a different doctor. Then x-rays were taken and they revealed I had Scoliosis also. I was in physiotherapy for 2 years for scoliosis, and I secretly hoped it would also help my chest.
    It didn’t…

    Now 23, I regularly exercise knowing it will not help my chest. But this is all I’ve got. I doubt that doctors in my country know off any operations concerning PE. Nevertheless I can’t afford surgery.
    I watched my chest deform, getting worse, from age 11 to now..I feel helpless, sad and angry as I stand in front of the mirror. My chest deformity at the age 11 is nothing, compared to how worse it has gotten now.

    Tomorrow I exercise again, feeling that life screwed me over…

  135. 135 Jane
    February 26, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Hi Pectus Dude,

    I am a mother of 2 boys. My older son is 15 and he has PE since he was 4. Back then we did not know what it was and I thought he would grow out of it…Until my son turned 13 he strated to dig the internet to find some info about PE. Then, he showed it to me…I was terrified for him to have surgery done and I thought it was just cosmetic and was trying to convince him that he sould not do surgery if it does not cause him any health problems. We left it at that…He was always physically active and played tennis since he was 8. In 2011 he started high school and made tennis varsity team and he started complaining of fatigue and shortness of breath, he gets tired very fast…He has no chest pain, but cannot fully perform while playing tennis. I went online and did research and I discovered that as he grows older he might have serious health problems.
    I took him to his doctor and told the doctor to give him referral to pediatric surgeon in Miami Childrens Hospital (2nd largest hospital for PE repair with Nuss in U.S. and best childrens hospital in Forida – did some research). Doctor confirmed my son’s PE and referred him to the surgeon for Nuss procedure. Right now I am taking care of the insurance (hopefully it will cover 100%) that the surgeon accepts and will be taking him for the consultation and tests in April of this year. My son is anxious…But I am terrified (no mother likes to see her child in pain), but I am hopeful that this surgery will change his life and I am affraid if I don’t support him now, it will cause his emotional and physical pain later when he is an adult.. BTW your results are very impressive!!! I am happy for you! Thank you for this forum and informational support that you provide to people around the world.

  136. 136 Blake
    February 29, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    Hey I discovered your blog today and I enjoyed your writing and to hear from someone with a similar experiance with physiological problems, self-esteem etc, unfortunantly I don’t have excavatum I have the opposite, Carinatum which is truely terrible I’d say I’m in the severe stages of it. It sticks out a lot and like you said in your very early posts it drains the joy out of the simple things like going to the beach with friends and all that good stuff I’m 17 almost 18 and I can’t find someone who can help me that includes my parents they don’t seem to understand the severity of the predicament nor does the family GP so they’ve given up on persuing treatment for me but I honestly can’t live my life like this day in and day out the anxiety alone destroys me I’m not sure if you can help me at all or anything but I’d appreciate your feedback if any. Thankyou

  137. 137 Anonymous
    March 1, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    Hi everyone,

    Firstly thank you all for the great posts. I am a 31 year old guy from the UK (don’t feel 31!). I can really relate to everything everyone has said – the phycological impact especially. I think though that in labelling it a demon and wishing to be shot of it ASAP, we can sometimes be doing to ourselves what the bully at the swimming pool did to us (or at least in the case of ‘Pectus dude’). I sometimes think that without having PE myself (in my case quite severe PE), I would have been that bully at the swimming pool. Possibly, in some very subtle quiet way PE (or Pectus excavatum to use Harry Potter parlance) has made me a gentler, kinder more empathetic person? Perhaps without PE myself, I would have been more shallow, vain and less able to relate to insecurities in others?

    I do appreciate that actually this ‘silver lining approach’ is a bit of a luxury view and yes, I agree it would be great to be ‘normal’ – especially as we would be able to appreciate what it would feel like to be normal (I have started to think about this NUSS procedure myself now thanks to this great blog). BUT, there is also something in what the chap from the Philippines said in an earlier blog (at least I think he was from the philippines – I can’t be bothered to scroll back up!), there are plenty of people with far worse conditions and it can help to have a little perspective with this. As I am 31, I can report that it hasn’t had a huge impact on relationships (passing embarrassment definitely but real impact no), or life chances or career etc etc, so younger posters don’t despair! I am still very self conscious certainly, but not cripplingly so and it doesn’t define me, or occupy my mind anything like as much as when I was around 18. With PE it can certainly be the case that if you see it as something really negative about yourself, after a while that is all you can see and you become your own worse enemy.

    Anyway if you have read this post (right at the bottom – thanks!), hopefully it will make you feel a bit better about yourself whilst you save for the NUSS procedure (or not, as the case may be). I just thought I would try to balance the ledger a little bit!

    Thanks again for the great blog Pectus dude,


  138. 138 JOHN
    March 6, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    Dear Pectus Dude, My name is john and I am about six to seven weeks post surgery. I am turning 41 this March so I am in your age range and my question is how long did it take for the majority of the pain and dicomfort to go away. It six weeks I still need to sleep in a recliner since it is very dificult to sleep in a bed. I realy miss being able to sleep on my side. I feel the bar constantly. It feels like my chest is constricted especialy when trying to take a deep breath. I imagine that is because the muscles around the bar are sore and inflamed. What I need to know from you is how well you progresed. Did you feel the same way I do at this point? And how long did it take for the pain ot go away in your case. In the last week or so I have been feeling alot better. I am optomistic that in a few monthes that most of my pain and discomfort will go away. Since you are well ahead of me in your recovery please give me some details of the progress you have seen in your case. Please be honest so I can know what to expect in the coming months. Thanks in advance for any information that you can give and good luck in your recovery.

  139. 139 Scott
    March 24, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    How’s it going Pectus Dude? I’m 21 and have a slightly milder form of PE than you. I had it checked out when I was 18 and the verdict was that it was a borderline decision because it didn’t affect my day to day life so much. However, recently, I’ve discovered some mild symptoms from extended strenuous activity, mostly hockey. I also have had a bumpy history when it comes to respiratory problems in my earlier years and surgery is most likely in my near future as I now see its time to either take action or deal with it forever and potentially encounter complications down the road. I have a couple questions. I notice your rib flare, an all too annoying side effect of PE, is now virtually non-existant. how did you achieve this? I know there are braces you can wear and I heard of a few vague exercises that help but your physique is such a desirable goal I’d love to know how you personally achieved this. I’ve also heard that Its just one of the results of the procedure. Also, I’m an avid cycler and was wondering when you can really push cardio exercises to the point you would normally before the procedure? Thanks a bunch man your blog is a giant inspiration.

  140. 140 Lee Willers
    April 3, 2012 at 4:23 AM

    What a pleasure it is to read up on so many stories like mine. I’m from England and have kind of accepted me PE although I do think about it all the time. I’ve done lots of weight training for a few years so with a tshirt on I actually feel confident because my chest looks good (unless it’s windy). But I never take my top of unless swimming and even then I try best to keep my shoulders under water….I didn’t get PE until my teenage years but my son is 2 and he was born with it. What would people reccomend I do, look into getting him looked at?

    I don’t even know if I can get my chest or my sons chest operated on here in england and if it will be covered on the NHS??

    Great website,

    We’re all built in different shapes and sizes, this is OUR SHAPE 🙂

    Lee Willers

  141. 141 Paul
    April 7, 2012 at 3:02 PM


    Is there a way we can correspond privately? I am a gay 34 year old male with PE and I am getting increasingly concerned about my condition. I would love some advice.

    Hope to hear from you,


  142. April 9, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Hi Scott. Unfortunately, the rib flare is still there – but the angle of the photo hides it. I have tried everything and nothing works. It has been three years since my surgery and the ribs are still flared. I’ve stopped worrying about it. Nothing I can do. About the cardio; you can push yourself to the max with the bars without any problem!!

  143. 145 A1
    April 15, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    I have this too, had it my whole life. I can count the number of people I know with this on one hand. I wish I didnt have it. It definitely has killed potential good times. I’ve been in relationships but only last a couple years never got married and i know PE helped kill them, I don’t know if a really hot girl would settle for me for life unless she was crazy or really cool, or an alien, were outnumbered theres hundreds of “normal” people for every one of us. I have had amazing sex with this, but with a shirt on, unless im behind her (see this has a way of killing your potential). Blowjobs are awesome, but I havnt gone swimming publicly in like 2 years. Music and drugs help just try to have a good life. Being blind or deaf would be way worse in my opinion. It would be cool to get the surgery and have this fixed but im scared id regret it. We should all be given medical marijuana from the government to help us deal psychologically, thats what I think.

  144. April 16, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Pectus Dude, that was seriously one helluva article there, damn, if I knew there were people like you here, I would have done the op a long time ago. Fortunately I did the NUSS last year in december 2011. However sometimes I wished I knew about this earlier, like what people here mentioned, the proper term and condition of this bone deform isn’t really known officially by the term Pectus Excavatum. People, like my friends just call it a hole in my chest, (Which I find derogatory at times) But yeah, the psychological impact really hits me, especially back when I was 15-16, My friends would ask me about it and I really had no explanation at all. My parents really didn’t know about it. And those damnable doctors would dismiss it when i showed it to them. However I really would like to thank my friend who is a doctor who actually told me about it and that was when I finally knew about it. That was 4 years ago, the rest is really history I would say as I had to do military national service here in Singapore so I had to delay the op till last year when I was about to complete my service. But still, it was really worth it. As it really made the change in my chest, and I’m really touched to know that I’m not the only one here with this deform, that there are others as well……..

  145. 147 Anonymous
    May 7, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    Dear pectus dude,Thank you so much for all the info and this site, My heart goes out to you,My daughter is almost 17yrs old,had the surgery at a hospital in London 5mnths ago, she was supposed to have 2 bars but after 5hrs in theatre they decided that 1 bar would do. She cant sleep properly, she hasn’t been back to school properly,the condition wasn’t affecting her physically although one breast is more developed than the other,she is shy and selfconcious and affected emotionally.I feel for us the surgery hasn’t worked,the hospital tells me it is a long recovery daughter doesn’t look any different,I wish I could make it all better for her.

  146. 148 Anand shankar
    May 19, 2012 at 3:11 AM

    Hello, I am a 17 yr old boy from india. I am about to join college in a month. I am sure I have pectus excavatum but all of the doctors I have consulted with my parents dismiss my concerns and either tell me to ignore it or say the pain and breathlessness are not related to PE. I ocassionally do feel pain, sometimes it is a lot amd sometimes a little. There is also the feeling that u are holding a large metal ball that is pushing into ur chest. I have problems with posture and feel like my chest is caving in. after seeing my xray and pulmonary function doctors say I am normal anmd not to worry. And my parents are not convinced about my situation either. so I have found that surgery is cheaper in india, and there is this dr called lm darlong who does the nuss thing. I hope I can convince my parents to meet him. Meanwhile, PE remains a huge burden on every aspect of my life. The only thing I am worried treatmentwise ist he complication after the surgery. I think my bones are pretty weak, I am a physically weak person in general, and the thought of worser complications is the only thing that makes me want to forego the surgery. I hope u can offer me some advice on this. Thanks 🙂
    Ps there are typos cos im typing on a fone :-p

  147. June 9, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    Hi Pectus Dude,It is with much sadness that I post on your site,My 16yr old daughter had an op to correct her PE back in November last year.(Nuss Procedure 1 bar fitted in the chest) It was cosmetic not for health reasons.She had lots of chest infections following the procedure and 2nd of June 2012 passed away, at the tender age of 17yrs, after doctors decided to remove the bar as they thought my daughter might be rejecting it.I hope my daughters caes is very rare but feel that people should not go in for surgery lightly.

  148. 150 Drew bumpas
    June 14, 2012 at 4:55 AM

    I have PE it’s been very difficult all my life not fully understanding it. I really never knew much about it untill I started to research it. This grew attention that it is a deformity and not everyone has it. The frustrating part is my parents think its stupid that I want to have surgery and get it fixed. I hate having it, I hate being around people with my shirt off. Nobody understands it and especially not my parents. I will keep pushing to have surgery. Untill then, drew.

  149. 151 Scottys
    June 15, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    Avoir une tres bonne concentration est benefique selon les Il est toujours important de gagner en concentration quelque sois votre secteur d’activite

    Excellente journee a tous

  150. 152 Alex
    June 19, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    Thank you for showing me the option to fix PE I am 15 and I have it.. I hate it. It is a demon as you said.. I’m going to bring it up to my doctor and if he does blow me off I’lll simply tell him about the nuss proceedure and my question is .. How expensive is it? And how long of a recovery is it.. Cause I can’t afford too much time off…. Rising basketball star here 🙂 but please respond!!! Thank you again!!!

  151. 153 Anonymous
    June 26, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    IT’s more of a psychologial challenge for me. I’ve had a hard time dating. I think I’ve found a down to Earth girl, and her friends all look at me like a lost puppy, and I know she talks about my poor deformed self to them. I overheard her talking when we were on vacation that she’s glad I wear a shirt on the beach so I don’t embaress her, because I’m deformed. When a girl acts like she’s into me, I feel like she’s patronizing me, to have a laugh at me. I have been saving for the surgery, but I don’t think I’ll ever get there. I have tried online dating sites, but women want “athletic” photos so they know I’m not some couch potato. I’m in good shape, but I think I’d scare any decent woman off if they saw me before getting to know me.

  152. 154 Kidesoo
    June 27, 2012 at 5:50 AM

    To Anonymous:

    Hi, first i would like to say, dumb that bitch! if she doesnt understand that you cant do anything about it, she’s nothing to hold on to! If you ever hear she talk negative about your chest, even if she dont know you hear her, confront her right away. Do not pretend you didnt hear it, because without confrontation they will never change her mind about your chest.

    Another tips, dont care if you look different! i dont know how severe your “deformety” is but girls loves a guy that dont care about their “bad sides”. In other words, girls loves confidence. If you have a “deformed” chest but you just dont care, they dont care.

    Another tips, if for example my face turns green for 1 hour, every single day, but i would show it to my girlfriend everyday, she’ll get used to it and maybe accept who i am. Its the same way with your chest, show your chest as much as possible. I dont know you and how damaged you are mentally, but show it as much as possible to your partner. That is really important!

  153. 155 mechele
    July 6, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    Pectus is hereditary in my family, my grandpa and a cousin both have it. My youngest son who is now 13 also was born with it! We’ve known since he was 3 he’d have to have surgery and spoke with gin about it quite frequently. We left the decision of surgery up to him. He just had his surgery and is doing awesome and he is so glad he had it done

  154. August 7, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Hey man, I know this is a late comment for your article but hopefully somehow you still see this. I am 22 years old and have Pectus Excavatum. It was so crazy reading this because I could relate to just about everything but the surgery. Condition was noticeable about the same age as you, maybe a little earlier and has slowly gotten worse over the years. Just feels uncomfortably tight with the ribs and chest wall. I played basketball, soccer, and ran track from middle school all through high school, but I’ll never know what my peek performance could have been because I had PE and still do. I really think whether the condition is mild or severe there is some kind of restriction it cause on lungs, breathing, etc. It was hard for doctors to notice since I was in great shape. Like I already stated, I’m 22 now and I’m really thinking about corrective surgery. This condition has ALWAYS made me self conscious and much less confidant. It is my curse and demon right now and I’m ready to get rid of it. Is it a complicated surgery to get done? Would I have to go out of state to get the correction done? I’m currently in Texas. Thank you so much for writing this article, and God bless brother!!!!!!

  155. 157 Ken
    August 9, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    Grant, I think the complexity of the surgery depends on what procedure you have. From what I have read the Nuss bar surgery is the least invasive. I had the more invasive surgery that was developed in the 1950’s which as described to me by my doctor was somewhat more complex. It involved cutting the sternum and cartilage on the front of the rib cage and rebuilding it. And it included wire to hold everything in place.You will need to consult with a thoracic surgeon to see what procedure would be best for your situation. And consult with more than one. Get a second, third, fourth opinion so you can make the best decision for yourself. You probably won’t have to go out of state, but if you live in a rural area you may need to go to Dallas, Houston, or a large town.
    The recovery is painful to be honest, but you have the advantage of being young. I had the surgery when I was 31 years old and my doc told me that this was the most painful surgery that I could have for my age. He definitely did not sugar coat it which is a good thing. I was more prepared.

  156. 158 Gary
    September 5, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Hello and thank you for such a great website.

    I am now too old for corrective surgery, but my journey was very much like yours. From the age of 11 I was bullied at school because of my hollow chest. My nickname was “Concave” and I was beaten up almost every day until around the age of 16 when the bullies left school (an all boys UK grammar school).

    Since then I have always tried to conceal the condition, and it has had a huge impact on my self confidence. Strangely it did not affect my relationships with women, or at least it did not seem to do so. Some even liked it, or so they said, and one in particular used to use it as a comfortable head rest.

    With men it has always been different, and with males I have always been and remain deeply ashamed of my chest. I have always tried to avoid any male seeing it, however I also admit that I find men with beautiful chests strangely alluring, sometimes as much as I do women.

    It has affected me physically. I have never had the stamina of most people and I think that both my heart and lungs are to some extent compromised. I achieved a reasonable degree of fitness when I was young, but now even walking up steep hills leaves me more out of breath than it should.

    I almost went for corrective surgery when I was 16, but I was dissuaded from doing so. Over the years I have become used to the condition, and now I consider it to be part of me, though even now I have the fantasy that one day I will wake up and it will be gone. If I look back I can see that it has affected my life in many ways and if I could retrace my path, I would have surgery.

    I have three sons and thankfully none of them have the condition although it is thought to be genetic.

    Best wishes


  157. 159 Anonymous :D
    September 11, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    I am 15, and have mild-moderate PE.. No i am not ever getting surgery.. but Im an athlete star in basketball and football 🙂 Just wanted to let others out there with this condition that there is optimism. And i also wanted the author to know that i bookmarked this website and that there are still many people reading this even after a couple of years have gone by. c:

  158. 160 E
    October 5, 2012 at 4:47 AM

    Dear Pectus Dude

    I’m 14 and I have PE. I have breathing problems due to my PE (which I think is a severe case, although I haven’t been diagnosed or anything… but after I did some research it’s quite obvious that I have PE) My parents don’t want me to get the surgery, so I’ll have to pay for it myself oneday when I have an income. And “oneday” I’ll be a lot older… (According to some websites it’s better to have surgery at a younger age, but I can’t because I don’t have the money since I’m only 14) Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that I really appreciate this site. Now I know that there IS hope for older people with PE and that I’m not stuck with “the demon” forever. PE is really stealing my self confidence and unfortunately I’ll have to wait a few more years, but at least now I know that there’s hope for me and I’m not alone.
    Thank you so much for your effort!!
    (please excuse any grammar and other errors… I live in South Africa so… my English is not that good)


  159. 161 Chris
    November 21, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    Hey, I had a meeting with a surgeon today and want to share some of what he said and my own thoughts and feelings. The first thing is, we are all so negative about our pe. I know some people have health issues as a result but for many of us, it’s predominantly a psychological issue. The surgeon was saying that so many pe sufferers see their pe much worse than it actually is. And my friends have in the past backed this up. They always say I see it much worse than others see it. If we all think about it, nobody is perfect, be it someones chin or teeth or nose etc, it’s what makes us unique. Even the best looking people will have some fault. Second of all, sometimes we can attribute too many confidence issues to pe. The surgeon was saying pe can become a scapegoat for our issues. For example I blame my pe for not having sex in ages, whereas the truth is, I don’t enjoy one night stands any longer. And by the way nobody I slept with ever commented on my chest. My pe has got a little worse looking but this is a result of me getting a belly! Gym sessions on the abs should sort that out!The surgeon said which is very true, our confidence comes from inside, not outside and therefore chest surgery will never cure all those little demons. Finally, the surgeon was saying that he prefers the ravitch as it is more tried and tested and he says it has less complications. So really read up on the two options. Surgery is risky and should never be rushed into, it also leaves a scar. I’ve written this because I read all too often the negativity surrounding pe but this negativity comes from us, those with pe. We’re are own worst enemy! Think how many shapes and sizes you’ve seen at the beach, a concave chest is just another variation on a very varied theme! You can literally find fault in anyone! Having pe does NOT make you ugly and does NOT affect your ability to have relationships and friends. I have seen male models with pe before. The surgeon said many more people have it than realise. All my friends know different people who have it. While exercise will not remove the pe, getting a six pack will vastly improve the look. Check out some of the body building forums on pe and some videos. Lastly for UK people, surgery is available on the NHS. When I used to live in the south of England I was told they wouldn’t operate on “cosmetic” pe but in Northern Ireland they will. So if you really want the surgery, the option is available on the NHS, you just might have to shop around. I was informed today to think about things and come back in a year’s time. I respect I am lucky the option is there, but the more I think about it, the more I think, really, do I want to go under the knife? I’m scared enough of blood tests as it is! I’m fed up being negative about pe. There will always be people out there to tease, if not our chest, then our hair, our ears, our height, our weight; it’s endless! Our vision of PE is x% in our head and x% on our chest. If we all work on removing the part in our head, then I think we’ll amaze ourselves at the results! One thing life has taught me, confidence gets you places, negativity pulls you back. Please, let’s hear more positive stories about pe, there’s millions of us with pe, and we should never be ashamed.

  160. 162 Sherry
    December 29, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    Great stories, a valuable tool for those afflicted with this deformity. My son had surgery for PE at 4 years old, all went well. Problem is the chief of pediatric surgery at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital ..(.no names needed ) missed that our son had Marfan’s Syndrome, Thanks to a friend and doctor we discovered at 5 years old his abnormalities he had a echo cardiogram and found his heart defect. He had his surgery at 14 years old to replace his aorta. 25 years old now….be aware sunken chest can also be a sign of Marfan’s Syndrome. Questions go to there website.

    Thanks for helping for so many people with your honesty and concern for others. Peace

  161. 163 Sori
    January 1, 2013 at 2:24 AM

    Hi, thank you so much for creating this forum and thank you to everyone for sharing their experiences. Recently, we discovered my daughter 15, has PE. Since she was 8 she had weird chest pains and breathing issues. Visits to cardiologists, EKG’s, stress tests, sonograms, etc, found nothing.. The first cardiologist said she had an innocent heart murmur, which could not be confirmed by a later cardiologist. Eventually, the last cardiologist could not find anything and deemed it was a result of a small chest wall Basically, he said she had to learn to live with it. During that time, we also consulted with a pulminologist,, who said she had asthma. However, strangely enough, she does not wheeze but gets out of breath and experiences fatigue. I have asthma and I wheeze.

    Anyhow, during her last physical, the pediatrician casually commented that she still has the dent in her chest but said nothing more. I found it strange as she had never mentioned the dent before as she has been my D’s dr. since the day she was born. I had never noticed a dent when she was a child but now looking at it, I realize that yes, there is a dent there. My D went home and did research on the net and found that the symptoms plus the dent could be PE. I did further research and it started to come together. We found a pediatric thoracic surgeon and setup a consult and sure enough, he said she had PE. An MRI to confirmed a 3.5 on the Haller scale.

    We talked about the surgical procedures and pros and cons about doing the surgery or not. Obviously, her scale was not as severe as those with a 5 or a a 7 , yet she is having pains and breathing issues. She is a very petite girl and we noticed over the last year, she has started to hunch over. She says that it makes her breathing a little easier when she is hunched. Also, the surgeon pointed out that one of the issues for females, was that sometimes during pregnancy as the belly pushes up into the chest. females with PE experience problems due to reduced lung capacity. Something to consider for the future. I know this is predominantly a male condition but I would like to see more females post their opinion on this, given the childbearing concern. Have you heard anything similar.

    Overall, I am very concerned about the surgery itself and the pain. I contacted the pediatrician to ask her opinion. The ped basically said it was a cosmetic thing, not necessary, etc. Never mind, that over 7 years, we could never figure out the chest pains and breathing issues. Anyhow, it seems my daughter wants to go ahead with it while she is still young. I am glad to see many people here have found it worthwhile. I just want to make sure we are making the right decision for her.

  162. 164 Michael C.
    January 23, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    I am glad this website exists. No doctors ever took my chest seriously, just brushed me off. I have bad flared ribs, and they sometimes hurt towards my back if I do much physical activity. I spent my first day skiing, and for 3-5 days after it hurts to catch my breath. Don’t know if it’s related. I am active, but I am too shy to get any dates. I don’t like to attract attention to myself, so I just live vicariously through others. I’d like a family, but I don’t think any woman will give me a chance. None of them have ever given me a second glance. Except one pretty girl in one of my classes, but then she just told me my posture is ‘epically terrible’.People say it all the time. They don’t know why I sit like it.

  163. 165 Anonymous
    February 4, 2013 at 6:28 AM

    Hello PD, can you share the name of the hospital and doctor that performed your surgery plz?

  164. February 4, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    Please read this website. I give a full account of all relevant details.

  165. 167 Sherry Wall
    February 4, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    Child was 5 years old – Children’s Hospital of Phila. Dr. O’Neil at the time chief of Pediatric Surgery.

    Sent from my iPad

  166. 168 Jacko
    February 11, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Just adding my gratitude for your courage and eloquence in sharing this. My wife and I have just been told our unborn baby girl probably has P.E., and of course we are anxious to learn more about it. This was one of the first pages I found, and it is precisely the sort of thing I was hoping would exist: an honest reflection on the personal experience of living with P.E., and one that traverses the valleys and shadows of the journey while ultimately ringing with optimism and fighting spirit. Well done, and thank you.

  167. 169 pieter
    March 28, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    Thankyou for sharing your story.Unfortunately my demon is still with me.Gues i will have to make peace with it as i cant afford the surgery.Atleast i find comfort in the knowledge that i am not alone and that stories like yours gives hope.Thankyou.

  168. 170 Stefanie
    April 30, 2013 at 4:06 AM

    Well, Pectus dude…I think I might be the female version of you. I’m 42 and getting ready for my surgery consultation at Cleveland Clinic. I was fortunate that I didn’t have the self image issues you were forced to deal with. I developed early, and my pectus excavatum actually looked like enhanced cleavage most of my life. To be totally honest, I’m somewhat worried I’ll look worse and have self image problems after the surgery. My Haller Index is a 6.1 and it has started having a major impact on my health. I’ve always been unable to do anything majorly cardiovascularly…which I didn’t understand was my PE. I’m an active person and my husband is a personal trainer/runner, so this has always made me feel lazy and less than others because I would be so limited in that area. I always had an elevated heart rate which didn’t help. In the last two years, I’ve developed a heart murmur, pleurisy twice, my lungs are unable to expand fully and specialists tell me I’m at risk of tearing both my heart and lungs because of the chest bone being directly embedded into both. My heart has also been completely pushed over to one side and isn’t pumping blood properly. I’ve also had constant chest pain for the last four months. My doctor’s aren’t really giving me a choice of surgery, and I’ve seen several. They say they are amazed I’ve made it this long and it needs to happen before it’s too late. So here I am, the full time working 42 year old mother of an 8 yr old, 3 yr old and 12 wk old puppy, about to undergo a surgery that will change my life profoundly. I’m not looking forward to the pain, or the scar, but I’m looking forward to the day I can chase my daughters around the yard without the fear it will puncture a lung or send me into a heart attack. I appreciate all you’ve written and it makes me feel like I’m not the only 42 year old undergoing an adolescent surgery. I’m hoping one day with a fully functioning set of heart and lungs I will finally get the opportunity to finally feel like an adolescent since PE took that from me.

  169. 171 Jon
    May 14, 2013 at 12:46 AM

    I had my op done a month tomorrow at 33 yrs.
    PE ruined my life in many ways and I´m over joyed I did this and went in for the correction!
    Countless times I would find a girl or the one-stand and have the feeling of omg, I have to show her this thing with my chest. I know that PE contributed to a lot of falied relationships as the girl would always say she want´s to break-up and not really give a concrete answer. Now a month later I am with a woman who was actually fasinated and impressed that I went through with this and loves the results – what more can I say. Get this done to anybody who suffers from PE – forget the pain!

  170. 172 Cleveland PE
    May 20, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    Thanks so much for sharing your story and creating this incredibly informative and helpful site. My almost 14 year-old son has PE and will be seeing Dr. John DiFiore at the Cleveland Clinic next month. For anyone looking for a specialist, the Cleveland Clinic is on of 5 centers for excellence for PE and Dr.DiFiore does 2 PE surgeries per week. I have been told that insurance companies have come along way recently and many times cover the surgery because they now understand more about the potential problems with lungs, heart & blood pressure. Looks like there is hope to have this issue corrected -we shall see.

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  172. 174 rida
    June 7, 2013 at 5:06 AM

    hi ..thx for the site .. u made ur operation at 2009 .. shouldnt b now cheaper than 20000 euro ? i am verry wooried about the pain after the operation how long it takes u to get rid of it ? do pain killer help or ull still feel pain even during using the pain killer >> finally if i wanted to make the operation how manny dys/weeks should i expect to b unable to go to work … really thx

  173. 175 Abdullah Alhagbani
    June 7, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    Hi , I am 50 y now, I had a surgical operation to correct the deformity when my age was 19y it was in 1982 ,unfortunately after the operation there was a separation in some rips from sternum it was the lower right of the chest and the hospital leave it and after two years they removed the two bars , at that time it was acceptable but I noticed the separated segment go inside and feeling with some pains and can not lay on the right side, I am looking for a doctor who has experience to repair the rips and fix again the separated segment , if any one can help me to direct me to the suitable doctor and address I will appreciate that , thanks

  174. 176 Jill
    June 12, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    Hi, I just wanted to thank you for this website. I’ve read a lot online about this condition over the past few years and most of it just upsets me because PE corrective surgery is talked about as a cosmetic procedure. It’s been the same way with my doctors. I always knew that I was different from the other girls my age, and being in my early teenage years made it worse. Doctors only told me that the sugery was unnessicary and painful, while my mother kept trying to convince me that I nothing was wrong. I recently had an EKG and ultrasound of my heart, both of which were normal. I also had a CT scan, and found out that my Haller Index is 5.1. I qualify for the procedure, but I don’t know what to do. I think that part of me secretly wished that I wouldn’t qualify because then there would be no option, no decision to make. Soon I’ll go to see a geneticist to make sure that my PE is an “isolated condition”, and from there make the biggest decision of my life (so far). I hope that some good can come from this, because I plan to design swimwear and underwear for girls like me. I’m sick and tired of being told that nothing is wrong and then finding myself having trouble fitting into clothing designed for girls who don’t have PE. Thanks again and I wish you the best.

  175. June 23, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    PE runs in my family. I am writng a feature-length article on the condition for a mainstream publication. If anyone is willing to allow me to quote from their stories (real names will not be published if that is what you prefer) please contact me via my website

  176. June 23, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    Brenton – you may quote from this website with proper credit. Contact me if you have any questions. PD

  177. 179 Craig
    June 24, 2013 at 1:03 AM

    Brenton – you have my permission to Quote me aswell
    My post was on feb 11th 2012

  178. 180 Steve
    June 24, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Thanks for this. I am 35 years old and still carry the scars of PE related bullying and self-loathing that blighted my teenage years.I used to lie on the floor and dig my fingers in and wrench at my rib cage trying to physicaly force it into shape. I was bullied very badly and it destroyed my self esteem. My parents are cold and dismissed me swiftly on the one time i asked them for help. My PE almost drove me to suicide. All young people should be offered surgery for emotional reasons. I admire you sir for slaying the dent at age 42.

  179. 181 Katrina
    July 14, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    I’m 31 and I have a severe PE only just diagnosed by a cardiologist. I plan on getting surgical correction because of the mitral valve prolapse, shortness of breath and palpitations likely attributed to it. I’m in Australia. Who do you recommend? I think we need to raise awareness about this in Oz. it seems better known in the USA. Thanks for your great blog 🙂

  180. July 14, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    I’m afraid I have no knowledge of PE surgeons in Australia. Perhaps you might as on the forum at

  181. July 29, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    As a kid from Africa i find your words really captivating and comforting. Everyday i look at my chest in the mirror i just hate my self. I was ignorant of this deformity i had until grade one ,when i was been mocked by my bed mate in the hostel during a quarrel. My parents also don’t know about it, may be because my PE is actually mild. To be sincere, i really feel like a big time freak. I wish someone can tell me another possible method of tackling this ‘Demon’ because my parents won’t be able to afford the money for the surgeries.

  182. 184 Kevin Hutchison
    July 31, 2013 at 12:26 AM

    I’m 39 and have no idea what my Haller index is. I can relate to some of the insecurities you mention above, but luckily, avoided the “Benjamin Jordan incidents” growing up. My friends noticed it as did I, and my “dent chest” was accepted by my peers. Being 39, I wonder if it is worth getting a corrective surgery at this point. I’ve thought about it passively over the years, and am genuinely curious about whether it is feasible/needed for me at my age. I’ve recently gotten into Crossfit, which can be a strenuous workout, and have no idea if my endurance is hindered by this condition or not. If so, I’d be interested in looking into possible surgery options. At my age, are there surgeons in the US that perform this type of operation? I really appreciate your blog and website and will continue researching this. Thanks!

  183. 185 Mel
    August 25, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    I just came across your blog… For so many years I didn’t really put my finger on why my body looked “off”. “Oh honey, don’t be silly, you look lovely” my parents would say, but I avoided wearing swimming costumes. My lower ribs were flared, and my chest caved in, but I was shy and modest, and didn’t have anyone else’s body to compare it to. I told myself it was my imagination, and maybe it was because of my slight build that my ribs protruded.

    I am now 30, and it wasn’t until about 5 or 6 months ago, not long after finding out I had scoliosis (and kicking myself for never pointing out to the doctor when I was younger, that one hip seemed higher than the other), that I decided to type in key words about things I found weird with my body, when I came across P.E…. and realized “That’s me!”. I read through everything and started bawling there and then. As a woman I have no doubt had it easier than any man with PE, but avoiding swimsuits since about the age of 10, wearing only high neck tops with confidence… that weird sensitive feeling of The Dent.

    I was heartened to read about the surgery and then disappointed, as I know I’ll never be able to afford it. I currently live in Asia, and have no healthcare provider. I suppose only the rich can sort their bodies out? Seems a shame. 😦

  184. 186 Matthew Sepulveda
    September 12, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    This is an amazingly constructed page that is full of truth and mutual feelings! I have PE, and have tried to accept it throughout my life. After coming out, I learned very quickly how judgemental gay men are about each other’s physiques. I hope to hear back soon, and will continue to read your page. Many many thanks!

  185. 187 sharlyn paras
    September 21, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    I have a 2yr.old daughter with that deformity. I really wanted to have it corrected, to stop my baby’s worry in the future. But our financial stability is not good. We’re in the Philippines and I had no idea with the cost of Pectus operation either Nuss or Ravitch. Please help.

  186. 188 Anne
    September 23, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    I just came across your blog amongst new settings. after my ph was up graded
    I found it both interesting and sad.i had not ever seen or heard of PE untill my 8
    Year old grandson showed me the hollow in his little chest I was horrified .it is as you say a theif of took 10 years of worry and angst ,before anything was done .he had the extremely painful NUSS procedure 14 months ago. He’s looking really good now .my heart goes out to you and wish you a speedy recovery ,all the best God bless.

  187. September 28, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    She is too young for correction. You will need to wait until she is around 16.

  188. 190 Anonymous
    October 30, 2013 at 2:43 AM

    Pectus excavatum truly is a demon. Ever since I was a kid, I always thought I had a hole on the right side of my chest. My mom told me that I was born with the left side of my chest bigger than the right side. I thought little of this until the 7th grade when I became much more self conscious of my body. I felt into depression starting in the 7th grade and dealt with intense self image issues and self esteem for the longest time. High school was an absolute nightmare for me, and I’ve told countless Psychologists, counselors, therapists, and my doctors that the root of my problem was my chest.They, of course, brushed off these concerns and told me that I would eventually “grow out of it”. I was constantly frustrated, disappointed, and upset at how no one was able to help me. I had a very hard time even understanding what exactly about my condition made me so upset. It wasn’t until the summer of my senior year of high school did I start to work out seriously. I made very good progress, but every time after I finished a work out, I felt extremely self conscious and insecure about my body. However, I kept at it in hope that my condition will eventually go away. It didn’t, and I stopped working out (pity). Fortunately, by working out my chest fairly often, I’ve discovered that the problem with my chest was not only that it was dented in on the right side, I also have Pectus Carinatum on the left side as a result of a rotated sternum. Essentially my left chest sticks outwards while my right side sinks in, leaving me with a very twisted feeling most of the time. I went to see an orthopedics in regards to my spine and he told me my spine was curved very mildly, but he did notice that my chest was slanted. Determined to make changes, I’ve tried everything humanly possible to try to self-correct my chest. After countless hours of research and stretching, my chest is still left with this strange twisted feeling. After suffering quietly for so many years, I am determined to see a specialist who can help me surgically correct this. I am no longer going to take no for an answer, and I won’t stop until someone can help me fix this condition. What makes matters worse is that I’m tall and have been told by many people I’m very good looking. Unfortunately, beneath all of that lies the demon that is my slanted Pectus causing me so much grief and sorrow.

    -Ryan H.

  189. 191 Ard
    November 6, 2013 at 5:12 AM

    Hey Rick,

    I am a 45jr old male from the Netherlands with PE.
    My story is about the same as yours, the ignorance of our family doctor, the insults, the shame, etc.

    Last spring my son of 14 jears old came to us with the problems he hat with his chest. He has pectus carinatum and the “bump” was growing larger.
    So i went with my son to our family doctor and what do you think?, He told us not to worry, you can get old with it !. And also he told me my son would NEVER get surgery, because he is too young !!!.

    From that moment on i was determent to help my son with his problem, so he wil not has to suffer like i have and still do. I asked for a consultation with a children specialist at the hospital and went there with my son. The children specialist told us the same as our family doctor, no surgery !!!.
    I already began to surch the internet for a solution for my son, and found a youtube film about a special “chestbrace” fore children at the CHKC children hospital in the US you also mention at your site. That is the solution for our son i thought !!. I also learnt about the “vacuumbell” from doctor Klobe, and YES maybe there is hope for me too!!!!
    I got the information frome the Klobe firm and went to our family doctor for support, because you need permission of a specialist to order the vacuumbell. I told him that i found on the internet the name of a specialist at the Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven, and liked to have a consult with this doctor for me and my son.

    Because it already was midsummer and everybody was on holiday we hat to wait for about two monts for the appiontment with doctor Elebaas at Catharina hospital.
    When we finally came for the appointment with doctor Elebaas my son told him he really wanted to get rid of his Pectus Carinatum because of the problems he suffering with it, but also new that surgery was no option because of his age. So maybe the Chestbrace was a option for him.
    Doctor Elebaas told us to wait a moment, and came back with two books full with pictures about PE and PC pacients he has helped over the years, and surgery was NO PROBLEM at all . He preformed surgery by many children like my son with great results!. I can not discribe the look on the face of my son at that moment!. I want that surgery he said emediatley.
    Then i was my turn and i told him about the “vacuumbell” and that was may be the solution for my PE. He told us that he even met Dr. klobe and already has three users of the device under his supervision.And even better he told me that surgery even at my age was not a problem eighter, but he needed some test results first like a CT scan and a heart echo.
    The haller index mate of my PE after the CT scan is 3.29, just enough for surgery!

    We both get surgery before the end of the year!

    Thank you for writing down your story and all the information we found on the site, it helped me to fight on to get the result we have now accomplished.
    Never give up!!!

    ( sorry for my poor english)


  190. 192 Kathy
    January 8, 2014 at 1:34 AM

    Hello! I just discovered this site…what a wealth of great information and understanding! However I’m not seeing recent posts, so I hope you are still active here! I am a 48 yr old woman, with moderate PE on the right, and a very asymmetrical chest (smaller right breast slides into the “hole”), so I can relate to the emotional issues that arise from a chest wall deformity. As a kid I was told the issue was cosmetic. I had a sister who’s deformity was severe (affecting heart and lung capacity), so as a child she had major surgery to correct it. To this day I am very self conscious about my appearance, and although I am “old” now (older than they recommend for these surgeries), I would like to do something about it. One thought is breast augmentation alone vs. more invasive pectus repair. Does anyone here have experience with that? I know that it won’t make me look completely “normal”, but perhaps moreso than I do now.

  191. 193 Dawnangel63
    January 30, 2014 at 3:01 AM

    Hi Kathy,My daughter had the very same symptoms you describe, Please if you have lived with it for this long,don’t go down the surgery route unless you are absolutely certain you have found a very good surgeon, My daughter had surgery in Nov 2011 at the age of 16yrs she was healthy but sadly her surgery went horribly wrong,We thought we had the best surgeon in 1 of the best hospitals but after her op (nuss Procedure) she had lots of chest infections and episodes of coughing up blood,sadly on the 2nd June 2012 My daughter sadly died. I’m sorry If this news upsets you but I want you to go into this with all the facts. Angela x

  192. 194 Stefanie
    January 30, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter. That breaks my heart for you. I agree with you that Kathy needs to really think this through and research all avenues thoroughly. Kathy, I just had pectus excavatum surgery in July at the age of 42. My severity index was a 6.5. My surgeon at Cleveland Clinic said I was the worst he’s ever seen. I only had 4 centimeters between my sternum and my spine. I was in heart failure my entire pregnancy and never knew it. I tested fine on every stress and pulmonary test ever given to me. People with pectus find a way to compensate because we’ve been doing it our whole lives. I passed my breathing tests despite finding out afterward that I only had 5% lung capacity. I slipped through the cracks with doctor after doctor because I kept passing the tests. Go to an expert, find out from someone who specializes in this because it’s very misunderstood. My surgeon was Dr. Daniel Raymond at Cleveland Clinic. He’s fantastic. The surgery is very serious and very painful. I didn’t really have a choice. I would do it again though. I’m running for the first time in my life, I’m not winded playing with my kids. I don’t feel like a lazy failure because I can keep up now and exercise like a normal human being. A friend of mine went the augmentation route, but later chose the repair. The augmentation was then an added complication to the repair. Make an informed decision. Good luck!

  193. 195 Anonymous
    January 30, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Dawn, I am very sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you. It has been 2 years since my surgery and I am 100% now. In another year the bar will be removed and this procedure has changed my life dramatically. There are risks with all surgery. My best friend had a kidney stone and the same thing happened to him. He got a bad infection and past away a few days later. It is a shame that we all feel the need to look normal. I hated the way I looked and it really affected my life in a negative way. I wish we could all live in a world were we could just be happy with the way god made us. Wouldn’t that be a great place. God bless you and may your daughter find peace.

  194. 196 Barbara
    February 8, 2014 at 5:36 AM

    I am a 50 yr old female with PE. As a teen it was embarrassing to say the least. I have yet to find a bra or batheing suit top that fit and have had to alter them to fit. I can’t wear low cut tops. The cosmetics aside I have just spent 3 days in the hospital having numerous tests performed mostly cardiac tests and xrays. This is the 2nd ER visit in 4 months due to breathlessness, rapid heart beat and palpitations, weakness, chest pressure etc. They say my heart is fine. Possible fluid in lower right lung which may be pneumonia. I have always had low blood pressure. As an adult my respiratory infections have increased in frequency, 2-3 per year now. I’ve been told in the past that I had pneumonia or chronic bronchitis. I can no longer sleep on my side or back, I have to be propped up in bed or I feel like I will suffocate and my heart will stop. This time I was given a beta blocker and antibiotic and told to schedule an appt with an endocrinologist for possible hyperthyroidism. I am still having the same symptoms i went into the hospital for. I do not have a regular MD and I suspect my problems to be caused from the PE. Any advice would be appreciated. Because my stamina has decreased I now feel much older than I am. I’m scared and not sure which way to turn. I am one of six children. My father has severe curvature of the spine, one sister with a sunken chest (had breast augmentation) and has mitral valve prolapse, another sister has PC and scoliosis, and a brother with PE and a heart murmur. I don’t think I have a thyroid problem and I don’t think I have pneumonia. As many others have commented on this site, it’s a relief to know there are others out there in the same boat. Most of the comments referred to younger PE sufferers. Please help me figure out what to do. Thankyou in advance and thanks for a forum to discuss this condition.

  195. 197 Aaron Woodcock
    February 23, 2014 at 1:39 AM

    I am 44 and have just found out about this as a possible diagnosis for what has been a nightmare experience i am still living as i write this. When i was in jr. high school in a gym class there was a boy with the opposite of PE and his chest stuck out and came to a point. The class bully thought it would be fun to see if his chest would fill mine up and crushed us together. What I would like to do to get this diagnosed after getting my chest cut open by a quack at riverside hospital in newport news, Va. I still have a bill for 90,000 dollars and not a step closer to finding out what is probably this PE. Doctors are just clueless and why should i have to pay for an operation I did not need in the first place. He thought I had a torn aorta artery and said i would die if i did not get emergency surgury. I am currently homeless and enemployed and waiting an appeal after filling for disability in 2011. Now i am seeking this new diagnosis and possible treatment as i have free healthcare since i am indegent. My statue of limitations has run out for sueing for malpractice but can i still sue for the fact that i was possibly misdiagnosed to start with. Please write me at to answer this and more questions. I am still having all the symptoms mentioned in the cleveland hospitals web site on PE. Please help me god. I will be homeless on the street soon and all because of this thing with my chest. Unbelievable.

  196. 198 Kelly
    April 4, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    I have PE due to an open heart surgery as an infant. Has anyone else on this thread had heart surgery prior to having the NUSS Procedure performed?

  197. 199 Rodney McCubbins
    April 8, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    I am 42 years old and I have never seen or heard of anyone (except in pics) having as severe of a case as I do! My question is when is to late to fix this problem, and what Insurance companies will cover a procedure?

  198. 200 Stefanie
    April 8, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    Rodney, I was 42 when I had my surgery this past July at Cleveland Clinic. My surgeon said I was the most severe he’d ever seen. I only had 2cm between my sternum and spine. I only had 5% lung capacity and my heart was completely pushed over. My Haller index was 6.5. I wasn’t able to have a rod. There wasn’t enough room and he said I would just cave back in. He had to break my sternum and ribs, reconstruct them and put in a permanent titanium plate, held in place to my sternum and ribs with 12 screws. He said I was lucky to be alive with such a severe deformity. It’s not an easy surgery, and I still have pain and restrictions eight months later, but I’d do it again in a second. Cardiovascularly, the difference is night and day. My surgeon was Dr. Daniel Raymond at Cleveland Clinic. He was fantastic!!!! Hope this helps.

  199. 201 Stefanie
    April 8, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    Also, if you have a severe case, it’s generally covered by insurance. I think most will cover reconstruction with a Haller of 3.25 or greater and an accompanying risk factor such as pain, or increased heart rate, etc… As long as it’s not purely cosmetic, they usually cover it. The doctor has to show it’s in your best interest to have the surgery.

  200. 202 Stefanie
    April 8, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    Barbara, I just read your comment. You sound EXACTLY like me. I was misdiagnosed for years because I always passed my stress tests. When you have a problem your whole life, your body learns to adapt and you power through. That’s why we get misdiagnosed so often. Urge your cardiologist to send your chest X-Ray and CT scan off to a specialist in adult PE. My surgeon was Daniel Raymond at Cleveland Clinic. He’s excellent. I’d bet money your problem is your PE. Go to someone who knows.

  201. 203 Anonymous
    April 8, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    I had my surgery done at 41 at the fox chase cancer center in Philadelphia. Dr Stacey Su was my surgeon. I am 2 yrs 4 months thru and in great shape now. I had all kinds of problems because of the bowed bones including bad posture and extrema shoulder pain. Now it is all gone. I went thru a lot of pain for the first 3 months and some residual pain for the first year . Now I feel good. I have a little pain and discomfort but it is well worth it. Only 8 months to go.

  202. April 9, 2014 at 12:20 AM

    Hi, I also have pectus excavatum and I just want to say thank you for having this page, it really helps people to know that there are other people out there going through the same thing 🙂

  203. 205 Kid
    April 9, 2014 at 4:59 AM

    My son has a Haller Index of 5.6. Tests did not show compression and pulmonary tests were fine. However, he is symptomatic — low endurance, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, discomfort, etc. The insurance has denied his surgery. Can anyone give specific advise as to what to say in an appeal to the insurance company? The physician is not happy with the decision and will be writing a letter on my behalf.

  204. April 9, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    Did the CT scan show compression of his heart? My Haller was around 5.6 too -and my heart was substantially compressed.

  205. 207 Stefanie
    April 9, 2014 at 8:57 PM

    I think it’s pretty common for insurance to reject at first because the surgery is expensive. Mine actually went back and rejected payment after the surgery. They reversed their decision after the surgeon appealed it. Like your son, I passed all the heart and lung tests. That’s why they tried to reject it. I think that’s pretty common though, because we learn to adapt after dealing with this our whole lives. My pulmonologist went back after I passed my breathing tests, and he did a lung capacity test. This test showed I only had 5% lung capacity because I was so compressed. I passed that breathing test with only 5% use of my lungs. This helped in my appeal, along with the displacement of my heart. My surgeon told me over 3.25 they consider surgery, over 5.0 it’s a necessity. I was a 6.5. I’m sure your surgeon will be able to successfully appeal. Good luck.

  206. 208 Teenage boy
    April 14, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    13/4/14 Hi I’m due to have the nuss procedure this coming Tuesday (15/04/14) I’ve had my heart set on this as the way my chest looks really depresses me my doctor and mum have tried several times to talk me out of it but I’m set on doing this but my mum is so against it. I’m a fit active 19 year old male who loves playing football golf and lifting weights at the gym and going out with my friends.Am just wondering how long it will be before I can get back to football,golf and the gym I also have a holiday booked for July with my friends am I giving myself enough time to preparing myself the best I can but really want to get back on my feet as quick as possible as I’m a very active person…am I putting my holiday and active lifestyle In doubt over the summer months? Would love quick reply as having last minute doubts about op but living with this is really annoying as admittedly I am a very vaine person thanks.reply ASAP

  207. April 14, 2014 at 8:30 AM

    I’d need to see your chest before I could comment.

  208. 210 teenage boy
    April 14, 2014 at 11:50 PM

    doesnt let me upload pics onto this for some reason.It is just over 4cm at its deepest point and the doctor said it is a very mild case and operation would be purely for cosmetic reasons it still a major factor in my life though.i dont know if this is info is of any use

  209. 211 teenage boy
    April 14, 2014 at 11:53 PM

    sorry 2cm at deepest point

  210. April 14, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    2cm? That’s nothing. I agree with your doctor.

  211. 213 teenage boy
    April 15, 2014 at 12:25 AM

    it is still very noticble though and im very self conscious about it i do think going to the gym has slightly improved appearance though.will my recovery period be quicker if my pectus excavatum is very mild or is that nonsense?

  212. 214 teenage boy
    April 15, 2014 at 12:27 AM

    infact i was right the first time anyway it is 4cm

  213. April 15, 2014 at 12:57 AM

    You can email me a few pics to or on Whatsapp – see the number in the contact page. Make sure that your photographs show the dent from the side view as well as from the front. Obviously, I am not a dog or a surgeon – however, I have a lot of experience with PE and I will give you my honest opinion. This is not a surgery to be undertaken lightly. Risk factors include death.

  214. 216 Teenage boy
    April 24, 2014 at 6:45 AM

    I decided to go ahead with nuss procedure. I had the op done exactly a week today and I feel great and happy with results obviously I am still on pain killers and am tender about chest area and at the wounds but I’m back up on my feet and going out walks with my dog and my friends I know there is still along way to go but so far it’s all good very impressed with results aswell can’t wait to get back to the gym and start building muscle up around my chest again

  215. 217 Teenage boy
    April 24, 2014 at 7:07 AM

    I’m just wondering if any one roughly knows the time scale before getting back to the weights or if you can at all? Also with golf and soccer

  216. April 24, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    Very light weights after 8 weeks is fine. Just go very light and very slowly.

  217. 219 Sam
    May 8, 2014 at 12:57 AM

    Anyone considering the Nuss procedure please think carefully and look at other alternatives. My son went for the Nuss last year but the op was stopped half way through as the bar could not be held in place safely. He went on to have the Stratos procedure which although it leaves a scar has no bar. When I read some of the problems that the Nuss bar gives I can only be thankful he did not have it fitted and that it was not possible for him. He has no discomfort one year on from the Stratos and is so pleased he had it done. The scar is hardly visible. Please all just look at the alternatives.

  218. May 8, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    I’m sorry about your son’s problems with the Nuss bars. There are many inexperienced surgeons who should not be doing the Nuss procedure. The only reason bars cannot be placed is surgical incompetence. The most important thing is to find a very experienced surgeon. Poor bar fixation methods are a common surgical failing. Professor Schaarschmidt in Germany has never once had such an issue. Nor has Dr. J at Mayo Clinic.

  219. 221 Kid
    May 8, 2014 at 10:51 PM

    When I read the doctors letter to the insurance company, it states there is slight compression of the right ventricle. The insurance guidelines do not indicate a minimum compression amount, just that there needs to be compression to warrant surgery. The doctor indicated this to the insurance company but they still denied it. Hoping the people reviewing the appeal will see that Spencer falls within their guidelines.

  220. 222 Concern Mom
    June 6, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    Can you please help me understand the different procedures?

    We seen a surgeon in our area that use to do the Nuss procedure (10 years ago and had issues with the bar).

    He went back to the older procedure: He states he removes all the cartridge around the sternum, cuts small amount out of the sternum to lay it flat. The incision is below the nipples and is across my son chest: no brace or support is used and he sutures the sternum into the muscles and allows it to float. Restrictions: no activity for 3 months: school and back only , no driving.

    I question if the cartridge/ ribs will reattach to the sternum if its not attached?
    Will it grow back in correct location or will it not sink into the chest area?

    He is a very brilliant, experience pediatric surgeon in the cardiac and lungs area but only does 10-15 of these procedures a year. He also reports that he can only guarantee that it will flatten the chest area : nothing more. During the consult he agreed to complete the surgery on my son without the Holler index data but with a take it or leave it attitude: he will only agree to do the procedure for select few.

    This week we received the index number 4.7 with heart shift to the left (unsure how much), now he wants to schedule the surgery but besides my above concerns its like he does not seem to think it will help (50/50 chance). He is also the only surgeon in our state that does the procedure.

    We are close to Kings Daughters so the Nuss may be an option. Quick recovery time is very important to my son. This summer he is going out of US and have plans to do the same next summer (still in high school). He has informed me that he want a procedure done this fall so that he will be ready for the next trip: but I’m not sure if this is realistic. I also don’t want to rush into anything and want to find the best surgeon for the procedure.

    Beside the index and cardiac, my son also has endurance issues, asthma, mild scoliosis (9-10%) and he sees fixing the chest as a way to increase his endurance and being able to take the trip next summer (cycling and backpacking for more than few hours): which at his current state he is unable to do.

    Any insight would be much appreciative.

    Concern mom

  221. 223 John Hewel
    June 6, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    Concerned Mom, I had the Nuss procedure done 2 years ago By my surgeon Dr Stacey Su. She Works at the fox chase cancer center in Philadelphia PA. She has done quite a few of these procedures. She was originally from the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, a great hospital in our area. She is the absolute best as far as I am concerned. This is her e-mail ( Yes the cartilage will reattach and remodel over time to the sternum if you do the old procedure. Both procedures help correct the issue But each procedure has its pluses and minuses over the other. After what I had read the NUSS procedure was the safest and offered the most in terms of physical renouncement. In other words after the 3 years and the bar is removed you will have the better lifestyle improvement over the old procedure. She told me before I did anything that in some cases the procedure is not proven to improve my stamina or physical abilities. I am at 2-1/2 year mark of the 3 years and i feel I have improved quite a bit. And I had issues with shoulder pain and posture that have diminish and have corrected since the procedure. I only have good things to say about the NUSS procedure. I had to go through 3 months of serious pain and another 6 months of minor discomfort. Now there is only a small amount of discomfort to deal with. I think that the Nuss procedure is the way to go. The old way of cutting the cartilage leaves more scaring.The old way is in and done. No bar to remove after 3 years. I am not sure of the success rating of the old procedure but the NUSS procedure is very high. Even the guy that started this web site has had no issues that I know of since the bar removal. The old way has other drawbacks. That is why the NUSS procedure is the best way in my opinion. I am not a surgeon so pleas give Stacey a quick e-mail. and ask her advice. I am going to e-mail her myself and ask her to help you with some advise/ second opinion. She has done quite a few of these procedures so believe me when I say that she is the expert in this procedure. Please, please, E-mail her.

  222. 224 Stefanie
    June 6, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    Pectus Dude, I’m sure has a lot more information he can share with you about the various surgeries. I can give you perspective on a few of your questions. It’s been a little less than a year ago that I had my surgery and I’m STILL recovering. The 3 month window your doctor gave you is pretty standard for every pectus surgery you have. During that 3 month time, your son won’t be able to do much at all. Initially I wasn’t allowed to lift anything over five pounds, then I graduated to 15. It’s nearly a year later and I’m still not allowed to pick up my daughter. She weighs 35 lbs. I will say that my case was more severe (Haller was over 6) and I’m in my 40’s, so your son’s recovery will likely be better than mine. It’s still an extremely painful, difficult surgery and it takes a long time to feel whole again. Your son won’t have a quick recovery no matter what procedure he chooses. A friend of mine had the procedure you are referring to. She’s doing great. My surgeon put in a permanent titanium plate in my case because he said I would cave back in again. I have another friend who had the Nuss. Her first surgery didn’t go well, but I think it was surgeon error. Most importantly, you need to find a very good surgeon, who specializes in this. This surgery can have serious complications, even death, so I wouldn’t risk having it done by someone with little experience. I travelled out of state for mine, nine hours away. It was inconvenient, but I knew I was in highly capable hands. As for a change in endurance, I noticed a change right away. I went off all medications, including inhalers, and felt 100% better cardiovascularly immediately. Once your son gets past the pain and healing, he will be glad he did it. Pectus had more of an impact on my life than I realized. My surgeon wasn’t able to fix me completely, because I was too caved in, but he still made a huge difference in my life just by giving me a few more centimeters of room. I have no regrets. Good luck!

  223. 225 Anonymous
    June 7, 2014 at 4:59 AM

    Please find another opinion – if you are unhappy – which you seem to be – then something is wrong. I am not at all convinced that your surgeon has the best solution.

    Best wishes – Gary

  224. 226 John Hewel
    June 7, 2014 at 8:45 AM

    I emailed Dr Su today and she got back to me right away. She said that she would love to advise you on your son’s situation. She can tell you which procedure is best for your son. Believe Me, I would trust her with my life. Well I guess I already did and she did not let me down.

  225. 227 Stefanie
    June 7, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    Concerned Mom, In what state do you live? My surgeon was out of Cleveland Clinic. I’m pretty sure he does both surgeries regularly. He chooses based on what’s best for the individual patient. The Nuss Procedure wasn’t an option for me because there wasn’t enough space to fit the bar…but I’m fairly positive he performs both. He’s an option as well for you. He’s absolutely fantastic. He’s in expert in Pectus and does these surgeries all the time. If Cleveland is doable for you, I can provide his information.

  226. 228 Concern Mom
    June 8, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    Thank you all.
    How long should I realistic expect him to be out of school?
    He thinks only few weeks but what I gather much longer.
    Is his expectation about the trip next summer (July) unrealistic? (This is the only time he will be able to go)
    With a wish surgery time in late fall?

    I will email Dr Su after I have the CT scan in my hand for I know I will have more questions after reading this report.

    Again thank you so very much
    Concern mom

  227. 229 Concern Mom
    June 9, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    Sorry I don’t think Cleveland is. I’m trying to obtain a second opinion at Kings Daughter in Norfolk but only number I have is the nursing dept. They are in insurance network but out of state rate.
    I really don’t want them to check to see if insurance will pay just yet until we decide which way. I want the very best but insurance/ payment for procedure is also a concern. (private insurance).

    Does anyone have another number for them?

    I realize they are very busy but I just don’t want to have them run the numbers before meeting them.
    I want to visit the facility before sending the questionnaire they send out.
    Is there anyone there I want to void?

    Thanks again
    Concern Mom

  228. 230 Jill
    June 10, 2014 at 4:59 AM

    Have you considered going out of state? I’m having the nuss procedure done at the children’s hospital of Philadelphia on the 30th. They have two really amazing surgeons who specialize in pectus excavatum. My surgeon was able to get insurance to cover the procedure based on my haller index (5.1) and I don’t have any symptoms.

  229. 231 Concern Mom
    June 10, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    The one physician in my state only does the older procedure but its at a higher rate. For out of State my insurance will pay 60/40 with higher deductible but must be touching state and distance must be shorter than one instate for them to consider it. That is one reason why I’m trying to reach some one at Kings Daughters since this is where the Nuss procedure was developed.

    Does insurance look at both the older or new procedure as the same or will the Nuss be more acceptable to them?
    But in the end cost is a mute point for we believe this must be fixed.

    Thank for all your insight and support.

  230. 232 Stefanie
    June 10, 2014 at 9:08 PM

    I think both procedures are accepted by insurance and both have their pros and cons over one another. I think the Ravitch is often chosen in the more severe cases and cases involving older patients. I only had 2 cm between my sternum and spine so there was no where for a bar to go. I don’t think the Nuss is considered better than the Ravitch per say. It’s just another option.

  231. June 10, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    I know many adults who have had failed Ravitch procedures followed by a Nuss redo. The most important factor, irrespective of procedure, is the experience of the surgeon. That is why I sought out the most experienced adult pectus surgeon in the world.

  232. 234 Elochukwu Ojukwu
    June 28, 2014 at 2:49 AM

    Are you now Ok after surgery? Can you tell me more about the surgery? Is surgery really necessary.

  233. June 28, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    All of your answers are in this website. I am doing very well. For me, surgery was necessary and the best decision of my life.

  234. 236 Pectus excavatum
    June 29, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    First of all this is an amazing forum and I thank you for letting me hear others stories

    I am 17 years old, 6’1 and about 160 pounds and I have a PE that sticks I’m about one inch as well as pretty flared ribs. I went for an xray recently so am waiting for the results of that. If I went through with the nuss how many bars would I get put in?? Also how long until I can enjoy life again( swimming,beach, biking, basketball, working out)?? I’m not sure if it is the best option but I want to be sure about theddecision now because I am the best age for the procedure

  235. 237 John Hewel
    June 29, 2014 at 5:48 AM

    Only 1 bar. They only put in more that one if it is needed and that is rarely the case. If you were a lot older they would consider more than 1. It took me 3-6 months to get most of my life back. remember that they cut through a lot to get that bar from one end to the other. Its not just 2 small cuts. They have to cut a channel for the bar behind the sternum. I had the surgery in Jan 2012 and I when on vacation to Mexico in March 2012 and was able to swim. Go to the beach there and do Zip lining . That is just 3 months later. But you will not be fully at your best for a while. I am at the 30 month mark and I still feel sore on the one side that has the stabilizer (Left side). Things get better month after month. I still am not as flexible as I was and prob wont until it comes out. But I feel much better than I did. My posture is better. I don’t have shoulder pain any more etc. The flare of the ribs is perm. I don’t think there is much that can be done about that. But I feel and look so much better. At this point I can say it was the best decision I ever made. Pectus Dude has said the same. He has already had the bar removed and has had no issues since. You are going to have to go through some pain to be sure. A lot of pain for at least a month or two. It gets easier from there. We all have with this procedure. Suck it up now and you will reap the benefits later. If you don’t you will prob regret it. I wish this procedure was more well known when I was your age. It would have changed my life a lot earlier and I would have reaped the benefits of that giving me a higher quality of life sooner than later. But I am glad I did it.

  236. 238 Jill
    June 30, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    I’m having the nuss procedure done today, please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

  237. 239 Gary
    July 11, 2014 at 4:58 AM

    I have posted on here before. Now that I am in my late sixties I would like to say to everyone who is hesitating about surgery to stop hesitating and go for it. I have lived with compressed heart and lungs so far, but now the toll is making itself known.
    Slowly the body is giving up, maybe at least a decade before it should.
    I simply wish that I had had the opportunity to get things fixed as you guys have. Please go for it while you can. Find the money somehow – after all what is ten years of your life worth?
    Even if you can get your head round to accepting it (as I (almost) have) and finding loving partners who don’t care a jiff about it (as I certainly have) it will cut your life short.
    Just my experience.
    Take care – Gary

  238. July 11, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    Hello Gary. Can you tell us more about your health issues? What do you mean your body is giving up? What does your doctor say? Thank you so much for your comments.

  239. 241 Stefanie
    July 11, 2014 at 7:01 PM

    Gary, I just had the surgery in my 40’s and my surgeon has operated on many older than me. I have a friend now being consulted in his 50’s. Mine was severe and I definitely saw it get worse as I aged. I can give you my surgeon’s name, if interested. If your doctor says it’s too late, get a second opinion.

  240. 242 Gary
    July 11, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    Hi Pectus Dude and Stefanie

    My primary problem is with my heart. I used to think that my lack of stamina was due to reduced lung capacity, and part of it probably is, but the main problem is that my heart doesn’t pump efficiently due to restricted space. As we age, our hearts age too, and mine is getting rather tired. Hills that once might have been a small problem are now a significant one.

    Self pity isn’t normally my thing – with PE the first thing you have to do is overcome self pity, as you know. When I posted the above I was going though a dark patch; it doesn’t seem quite so bad today. But I still stick to my advice – have the surgery – I was advised not to have surgery back in the 1960s, and it was the wrong advice. I feel 10 years older than I should.

    An interesting bit of research:
    ” Pectus excavatum patients {not corrected} tended to die earlier. However, pectus excavatum patients who survived past the age of 56 years tended to survive longer than their matched controls.” (J Pediatr Surg. 2005 Aug;40(8):1275-8.)

    At least I seem to have passed that landmark.

    Have the procedure now? Perhaps 15 years ago, but now I don’t think any surgeon would take the risk and I am not sure that I would either.

    I am getting a new dog which should ensure that I keep up the exercise – keep on going.

    Thanks for your comments and concern.

  241. 243 Stefanie
    July 12, 2014 at 4:14 AM

    Gary, do you know your Haller Index? I know exactly how you feel. For years, I didn’t realize my pectus was causing all my problems. I just thought I was lazier and more out of shape than everyone else. When my surgeon told me he couldn’t believe I was passing all my tests with the severity of my pectus, I cried. Not because of the severity, but because I realized it wasn’t me. It was a huge relief. I had a baby at 40 and went into heart failure during the pregnancy. My heart had always tested fine with my pectus, but it couldn’t handle the strain. Luckily, my daughter and I made it. They are doing surgery on people even in their 70’s now. They’ve come a long way. I got to a point where my doctor said without it, I might not make it. It’s been a long recovery process, I’m still in pain a year later, but I don’t regret it a single day. The peace of mind in being able to breath is worth the pain. I always feared something really bad would happen to me, even with the smallest of activity. That feeling is so stressful. I had less than 2cm between my spine and sternum so my surgeon was unable to correct me completely. I was too caved in to use a bar, so he gave me a permanent titanium plate. I will find out my new Haller Index next month. With that being said, the day of my surgery I went off all my meds, and trust me, I was on a lot, for everything from asthma to acid reflux. I’m medication free and able to exercise cardiovascularly for the first time in my life. If you are severe, check out your options. The bigger facilities offer a variety of surgeries these days for a variety of people of all ages. With a surgery like this, 40’s or 60’s it’s going to hurt like hell regardless, but it will be a life changer if they think you are a good candidate.

  242. 244 Kid
    July 22, 2014 at 1:23 AM

    My son Spencer had the Nuss bar procedure done on June 24th. He was in the hospital for 8 days, longer than most. This was primarily because he kept vomiting and; therefore, they would not release him. On the sixth day they switched the type of narcotic he was receiving but still vomited. He told the nurses to stop with the narcotics all together and instead just used ibuprofen and Tylenol for pain relief. The vomiting stopped and he got to go home. First patient they had who went home after pectus surgery without narcotics!
    The surgery is very painful but he says it was worth it. Again, Spencer had a 5.6 Haller index. He ended up having two bars put in, which only 3% of people need two bars. Spencer is also built like a football player — 6 foot, 230 pounds and very broad. Coping now with not being able to do much activity. Has back pain when trying to sleep and pain where the surgeons had to build a pocket for the stabilizer. He is currently going to a chiropractor to help with the back pain and muscle tension in the shoulders. He also experiences pressure in the chest. His chest looks great. The physician was 100% pleased with the outcome. Has only three small incisions.

  243. 245 John Hewel
    July 22, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    I had back pain also. Remember the ribs wrap around and attach to the spine. The pain went away in about 3 months. The pressure being put on the ribs by the bar will cause the back to be soar for a while.

  244. 246 Stefanie
    July 23, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    Check and see. Physical therapy was covered for me. I went for my back pain. It was worse than the front and I didn’t even have a bar. PT helped me tremendously. My surgeon said the more severe the cases, the more the back pain, because you are that much closer to the back muscles. It took me about 6 months to get rid of the back pain, but my Haller was over 6.

  245. 247 George Carranza
    July 29, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    Iam 16 years old and i talked to my doctor about my pectus excavatum and told her about me having chest pain and told her that it might be cus of my pectus excavatum and she said no and they attached sum things to my feet and chest and said i will be ok theres nothing wrong and my chest pain has nothing to do with my pectus excavatum do you think i have to go see a specialist instead? Or do u thinl she is right?

  246. 248 Curtis
    July 31, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    Hello. My names Curtis, I’ve had PE for a few years I think, doctor told me during my physical a few years back. I’m 15 currently, I’ve never diagnosed me PE but I’m thinking about it because I’ve noticed that I have breathing problems occasionally, as I’m writing this actually I’m having breathing problems.

    Doctor said that having surgery would cause more problems then if I didn’t. But reading all of the posts from last few years and your story Pectus Dude I’m having thoughts about surgery. I don’t have problems with it mentally, meaning Im not self conscious about it at all.

    My friends make jokes about skinny I am (6 foot, 135 lbs) but they’re just jokes, so I don’t worry about it. I play soccer and I’m very fond of sports so my biggest concern is how long I’ll be out of soccer and what other problems Ill have after surgery if I do have it.

    Hopefully someone can get back to me.


  247. 249 Stefanie
    August 8, 2014 at 8:47 PM

    I had at least 4 doctors misdiagnose me, specialists included. You should ask for a CT scan to determine your Haller Index (pectus severity). The radiologist can provide this to your physician by looking at the CT scan. Once you’ve determined the severity, you’ll have a better idea if it’s your pectus. Haller runs 2-8. It generally has to be over 3.25 (I think?) for surgery to be considered. Good luck.

  248. 250 Gerard/Lisa
    August 9, 2014 at 5:16 AM

    My son Spencer had chest pains, shortness of breath, low indurence, and activity induced asthma. His pediatrician did not believe his PE was a cause. We also saw a cardiologist because of the chest pains but he dismissed the pains as “growing pains” and was not concerned about his heart. He continued with these symptoms for several years and finally as a senior in high school we decided to go to a pediatric surgeon who sees patients with PE. In the end Spencer had the surgery (at age 18) at Children’s Hospital in June 2014. We hope the pains stay away as well as the asthma. My suggestion to you is to see a pediatric surgeon who sees kids with PE. They understand this deformity and health issues related to it more than any other physician. Don’t depend on your primary care physician. I can’t stress that enough.

    On Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 5:16 AM, Pectus Excavatum & The Nuss Procedure – Adult Correcti

  249. 251 Kid
    August 9, 2014 at 5:35 AM

    Hi Curtis,
    Why would the doctor say you would have more problems after surgery? Do you have other health issues that he would say this? With respect to my son, he had chest pains, shortness of breath, low indurence for several years with family physician/pediatrician and a cardiologist saying his issues were not because of PE. In June of this year, at age 18, he had PE surgery and had to have two bars put in because of his Haller Index (depth of PE). We went and saw a pediatric surgeon at Children’s Hospital who sees patients with PE. Spencer was in the hospital for 8 days (two days longer than planned as he kept throwing up and therefore they wouldn’t release him. Stopped throwing up after he went off the narcotics). We were warned that the recovery is painful (first week in hospital). Spencer was unable to have an epidural and would throw up because of the narcotics. He went home with no narcotics, just Tylenol and Ibuprofen. He came home on a Wednesday and the following Monday he had to start summer college. He didn’t drive himself until Wednesday. He had back pain, chest pressure, is not to twist and has to bend at the waist and not lift anything more than 10 pounds (a gallon of milk) for the first few weeks. At his post-op appointment with the surgeon four weeks after surgery, his is allowed to play disc golf, tennis, pretty much anything except football or any impact sport. So, I would think with soccer you might have to wait 6 months due to risk of an impact, but that would be the surgeons call. The concern is the bar moving.

  250. 252 Curtis
    August 9, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    I don’t think that she meant I would have more problems post surgery, I think she meant that my PE wasn’t causing any problems at the time but I would start encountering problems if I did have surgery. Thank you for letting me know about the surgery. I have an appointment soon to get a diagnosis on my PE so I will find out if its severe or not and then I will decide if I want to have surgery. Thank you for your reply.

  251. 253 Concern Mom
    August 18, 2014 at 2:34 AM

    Curtis: My son is also 15y and at 5’10” we have experience the same responses as you. Most physicians will tell you that the PE is not causing the symptoms (it’s what they have been taught): expect to receive comments like these as was mention by prior posts. My advice to you is to find a physician that will order the MRI or CT scan to determine your halter index & checks to see if the PE is causing any issues such as pushing on your heart or displaced it. Then find a physician that is experience with PE.

    In our case: as MJ has grown taller his PE has become worsen and even with CT results that shows there is an issue we are still receiving the same responses to you.

    Be honest with you family: MJ did not notify us of symptoms that he was having because “they have always been there” and “since there is nothing we can do then why talk about it”. Pressure, breathing difficulties, endurance issues, lower back pain may continue to worsen as you get older: as in our son case. As you’ve grown taller the pectus has grown inward to the point that you may have just now noticed the symptoms it causes. MJ did not see the same difficulties we did until few years later: which is why talking to your family is so very important. At first we blamed it on laziness, video games, “not into sports” until we realized he had stopped doing activities that he really loved doing: your family may be able to give you more insights. What made him and us really notice was when he was unable to ride his bicycle or complete hikes with his friends: this will not change unless it’s repaired.

    I don’t have the answers to what problems you will have after the surgery; a good qualify surgeon that specializes in PE can answer this but I don’t see it worsening the condition. We will be seeing a surgeon ourselves to determine the benefits & risks: but as MJ has pointed out: (he has a halter index of 4.7, right sided compression and heart shift to left) “the benefits outweigh the risks” & “now it’s medical and must be repaired”. He likes who he is but sees surgery as the only option because he would like to be able to return to activities he enjoys and has done in the past.

    One thing that I cannot stress enough is: find a qualified surgeon with a proven track record: with experience in dealing with PE. If they have a take it or leave it attitude then then they are not the person to be doing this procedure on you. Also let your family know what is going on because you will need their love and support.

  252. 254 Rolandia V
    August 28, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    Went to see an ER doctor . Had feelings of shortness of breath, pain in upper back. He gave me an anti-anxiety med and sent me home. Oh, he casually mentioned I had pectus excavatum, but didn’t tell me that it could be related to my shortness of breath or pain in upper back. So disappointing. It’s like he didn’t even care at all to apply any medical training into helping me gain a better understanding of what was going on. Bummer.

  253. 255 Anonymous
    September 2, 2014 at 8:00 PM

    I had a son who has pectus excavatum but here in the philippines surgery is very costly and only few surgeons has the expertise to perform the nuss procedure, can you give names of supplier of titanium bar that has agents in the philippines

  254. 256 anonymous female
    September 29, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    Gary, I agree with Stefanie. I am pretty much in the same shape as you (but at age 48) and I assure you that my index it worse then Stefanie’s. I looked into correction several years ago, around 2001, just after I had a pacemaker implanted, because a friend (who taught nursing) suggested that if I had my pectus corrected that I may not have needed a pacemaker. I look back now and cant help but think she may have been right. During this time I reached out to a Dr. Fonkalsrud @ UCLA by sending him a letter along with a copy of a current (at the time) CT. Although, he wrote me a 2 1/2 page letter and we talked on the phone, I never physically made it out to see him (for a consult) due to family matters, etc. note: He mentioned in the letter that I had the most severe case he had ever seen. I eventually talked myself into believing “I lived with my chest like this for so long and have been surviving, so why would I want to put myself through the risk of such a big/painful surgery?”

    Fast forward to today: I would absolutely love time travel, because I would go back and have Dr. Fonkalsrud preform the surgery. He said back then that it would not be flat but that he could give me relief. That relief is much needed now, and it was never about cosmetics for me. I read the stories of others and lights flash. I’ve had so many issues with my appetite (taking previcid, etc), palpitations, becoming winded, starting to get swelling in my ankles, and now I am even feeling pressure on my back as the sternum is so close to my spine (which can happen with age. I know the severity has worsened because the distance between the sternum and spine has become even less since Dr. Fonkalsrud has reviewed my CT.

    Gary, you owe it to yourself to at least check out your options. It seems scary to face this but where I am at now is awful. If it were only as easy as taking inhalers, cardiac meds, and pain meds, but it’s not (for me anyway). I tried water exercises and was even winded from them. I often feel a clicking/popping in my chest when I am laying down in a certain position every time my lungs expand for a breath of air. My life seems at a stand still. I am unable to accomplish much and simple things are a chore.

    I am going for a consult soon (actually planing two of them… both places already have my records).

  255. 257 t pep
    March 3, 2015 at 8:28 AM

    I am 47 and have lived with it all my life. I to was embarrassed at times growing up and also was called names. Not sure of the degree I have but it is very noticeable and has been noticed. I more than likely will not have surgery but good luck with your recovery. O do get pain in the lower portion of my sternum from time to time and it sometimes hurts to the touch but I can go months or years between episodes.

  256. 258 George
    April 18, 2015 at 4:04 AM

    I first noticed PE when I was about 12. It’s growth was slow and looking at photos from when I was younger I can see there was nothing wrong with me then. Slowly over the past 3 years however, it became more and more noticeable. It began to get psychologically painful until I was asked if I had ever eaten my cereal out of it. Everything suddenly changed. Instead I was laughing at it with people. It became a bit of a party trick. Also at the start of high school I met another guy with a mild version of it which was lucky. It still restrains me from taking my top off in public though so I’m still not happy.
    A few weeks ago I visited my GP who referred me to a doctor who had worked with Dr Nuss. He said I have severe pectus excavatum and he will be able to perform surgery this summer (2015) I’m looking forward to it strongly and after recovery I’m looking to take up bodybuilding. I will be uploading regular photos and videos and feelings for anyone who is considering surgery.

  257. 259 Ivan Sakwah Benjamin Mauso
    May 20, 2015 at 5:56 PM

    I have been batling severe PE and the doctors ugandan doctors are ignorant about this condition in adults. Can you offer help

  258. 260 Anonymous
    July 2, 2015 at 2:26 PM

    How much money did the surgery cost why did u have it done in berlin

  259. 261 jadene
    December 28, 2015 at 1:11 PM

    My son is going in for the Nuss procedure tomorrow at Portland Shriners Hospital. If you child (up to 26 years old) has this condition, then ask your doctor to refer them to Shriners Hospital. Its completely covered by donations. And please generously donate to Shriners Hospital for taking such great care of our kids!

  260. 262 Bcubed
    February 17, 2016 at 1:00 PM

    I underwent the Nuss about 11 weeks ago. I made the mistake of pushing myself too hard in terms of lifting too heavy too early.

    I was feeling pretty good and wanted to get back my muscles. I started with really light weight but did an 85lbs bench at about 7 weeks. This really hurt after the workout and I regret doing it. I continued to do some other workouts earlier as well. I would feel fine during but would hurt after. Not smart. Being a gym rat before left some bad habits in my mind that pain is temporary and you need to push yourself.

    2 things I have noticed. The first is a seeming relapse at the area of the sternomanubrial junction (the top) at the upper part of the sternum. However, I noticed this before I started lifting.

    The second is a possible flatening of the lower most bar (I have 3 bars) where it seems that my chest is attempting to revert back to its former position.

    Not 100% sure if I am just being paranoid or what. Has anyone else experienced this?

  261. 263 Grant
    February 23, 2016 at 5:53 PM

    I am 40, from Australia. I have P.E. Did all sorts of tests since I was a kid to determine if I needed surgery, and apparently not, although it’s a close run thing. I have a displaced heart, 80% lung capacity. I am a police officer and passed the medical… Just, when I was 22. I never had much success with doctors, mostly got the chin up and get on with it speech. My particular favourite was seeing one of the best thoracic surgeons in Australia at 15 and having his gasp in shock when I took my shirt off. Surgery has never been offered as a viable option here In Aus. I think for me the effect it’s had on my confidence and self esteem has been the worst bit, something I’m still working through.(strange given what I do for a living) . Whilst I’ve had successful relationships I’ve never been married or had kids, I am currently struggling with the idea of parenthood( for fear of passing on my PE).

  262. 264 Anonymous
    February 24, 2016 at 1:30 AM

    I would definitely go back to your surgeon and have them take an xray and see if the bars have moved. I’m not sure what they could do but with lifting that amount of weight, may have caused some problems. It’s a major/painful surgery to go through to have it messed up because of weight lifting. My son had two bars put in a couple years ago and that was unusual for the doctor. I can’t imagine how severe your PE was to have three bars. Good luck to you and follow all future doctors orders.

  263. 265 Ken
    February 26, 2016 at 10:25 AM

    Bcubed, you shouldn’t be doing ANYTHING!!! Did your doctor not tell you that you need to limit your physical activity? It’s not to be taken lightly. The complications you might have can be serious. If you fracture a wire/bar you can have some serious issues. Hopefully you go back to your doctor and explain your concerns and issues.

  264. 266 Robin Kng
    March 2, 2016 at 5:49 AM

    I was born in 1951 and had pectus excavatum . I had the type of surgery that included wearing a brace on the outside. The surgery involved wrapping stainless steel wires around my sternum coming out through my skin and attached to a brace on the outside ( similar to the brace with magnets) I was to wear it 6 weeks but the wires broke at about 4 weeks post op. My activities were cut back, no riding horses , bicycle , anything where I could fall and hurt my chest. I had my first surgery in the summer between 1st and 2nd grade. Since my wires broke ( while throwing rocks in a pond) I got to have another surgery the next summer so as to not miss school. The 2nd surgery was worse because I knew what to expect. Pretty heavy crap to go through when your 7. I remember going through physical and respiratory therapy. The surgery did help a little as far as appearance but it was very bad on your self esteem. I wasn’t teased so much for that since little girls don’t run around with their shirts off like little boys. No one really knew except because I couldn’t do a lot of activities for a couple of years Lol. But I knew it was there

  265. 267 kev kirkwood
    May 15, 2016 at 1:36 PM

    Thank you for this to sum up my PE I have a wife a child an another child on the way. I could not be happier until i look at myself in the mirror with no shirt on. “the skies in my heaven are blue with a demon in my view “

  266. 268 Anonymous
    July 28, 2016 at 7:59 PM

    Hi.. How old are u Ken.. And how is it with the pain after the surgery? Iam verry worried about the pain.. Thc

  267. 269 Reda
    July 29, 2016 at 1:52 PM

    bonjour a tous jai 33 ans vivant a montreal jaimerai bien faire une chirurgie pour me debarasser de ce probleme.j en ai vraiment marre de cette situation car je ne vai jamais a la piscine ni la plage et si jamais ca arrive je garde toujours mes vetements sur moi .je deteste quand il fai chaud et je deteste quand le monde regarde mon torse je suis tres gener .merci a vous de partager votre experience avec nous.

  268. 270 Tomas
    August 1, 2016 at 9:06 PM

    Fantastic!. I’m 38 and just had the nuts procedure and was the lucky recipient of 2 bars. I’m a month in and have to say this is he’ll. The bracket hurts and I told them just last week. They said ithey looks amazing. Which gave me some confidence yet told me to keep up with my pain killers and relax and take it easy. I’m not a take it easy kinda guy…. Drs told me in a few months I can go back to work which I am a contractor and have some crazy movement and then they proceeded to run a list of work I can’t do. Which is most of my business. I’m growing frustrated every day by this pain. My wife is not overly supportive and my sex life has been long gone because of this and prescriptionsee. I’m going bats shit crazy and have no outlet for my frustration. Thanks for the positive influence.

  269. August 2, 2016 at 9:23 AM

    Just take it easy. Nothing you can do now but rest and heal. Don’t do anything stupid to injure yourself. The pain goes away.

  270. 272 Choosen Wan
    September 27, 2016 at 10:48 PM

    im a medical student , this is my second year , I was studyig anatomy , about the thoracic cage exactly , I googled Pectus Exavatum and I found my self here. Thank you for sharing this with the world

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