My Pectus Excavatum Problems (girls)

I've always had pectus excavatum, but I didn't know it was pectus excavatum. My mother had never checked me, and I thought I just had a large ribcage. I noticed the dent when I was about 7. It's not a huge dent, but it's noticeable. It makes my ribs portrude in a weird way. My mother and I aren't close, so I never told her about it.

I could never run when I was younger and I still can't. I mean, I CAN, but I will get tired so quickly and my heart will start racing so fast it's just better not to. One time, I even coughed up blood. I told my grandmother about this, and she thought it was a heart problem since she has one and my mom does too. At school I had a test done, and nothing was wrong with my heart. We left it at that.

It's always been my biggest insecurity. If I could change one thing, I would change that. Since I was little , all I've asked for is to be normal. I wanted to be able to run and run endlessly. I've never played sports, and I always wish I could've been able to. I've gotten teased quite alot, because they make me appear flat chested, like my breasts sit upon my ribcage. My breasts fill a C-cup but they look like an A. My ribs stick out far more, and since I'm naturally thin, people always ask me if I have anorexia. I weigh about 105-108 pounds, and I'm 5'7. I used to weigh a little less, but I started eating more to see if my ribs would look like normal ribs, but I realized that no matter how much I eat, I will gain weight in other areas (legs, butt, arms etc.) but my ribs will still be this way.

No one understands how I feel about this and I'm pretty sure my family won't want me to get the nuss procedure because they don't think it's a big deal. I've read alot about it, and I can endure pain. I'm almost fourteen, so now is about a good time to get the surgery. After the surgery, I want to enroll in volleyball or track, and get a bra that fits.Is it too much to ask ?
PEgirl PEgirl
13-15, F
5 Responses Jan 23, 2013

The comments from people are the worst. I find that it's even worse when people are trying to be nice. The thing I hate hearing most is "oh it doesn't even look that bad" or "you can barely tell." I know they're trying to make me feel better but no one understands what it's like to have PE if they don't have it. I always did sports in high school but I definitely had a much harder time than everyone else and the reasoning was always that I just wasn't in shape. I'm actually hoping that my PE is severe so I could be considered for surgery but I've never had it checked out by the doctors. And what sucks even more is that I'm an A cup so my chest basically looks non-existent haha so I totally understand how you feel! I hope all goes well for you and you get the surgery!

Im a dd but I certainly don't look it. It does suck coz people always have to comment. The easiest way I found to get a bra to fit, thats supportive and looks nice is to remove the wires from a wired bra. This sounds silly but ive found you get more shape and support from a wired bra. I found I was uncomfortable until I was about 21 and sort of came to terms woth the way it looks. Once your surrounded by supportive people (I.e not in school ect) its a lot easier coz I found kids at school can be aweful. There will always be horrible people but people are generally negative when they don't understand coz it makes them feel uncomfortable. As people get older most people are more interested in understanding rather than just throwing insults around. Hold in there and don't listen to people's negativity. I know its hard but it does get better. Im almost 23 and im getting ravitch asap. Its what feels right for you. Good luck :-) x

My son is 14 and has pectus excavatum. He never complains and is not self conscious in the least bit. Even though his pediatrician was not concerned, i am a nurse and I had him evaluated elsewhere when I started seeing him get short of breath and struggle after 15-20 min of any activity (football, lacrosse). He is 5'10 and 118 pounds. It is hard to watch him struggle for air when other kids much less fit can last so much longer than him. He's had a hard time gaining weight (he's rarely hungry and gets full quick)- I'm convinced its bc of the PE - I don't think his stomach is able to expand like it should (there's just not enough room). He will be having the nuss surgery at kings daughters childrens hospital in Norfolk, va. I did alot of research and they specialize in chest deformities. No surgery is perfect but I just want my son to feel good (like all the other kids who dont have this) and not have to be concerned about it worsening or effecting him as he ages. It's hard to believe that people think this is primarily a cosmetic issue, are you kidding me- Your Sternum Is Pushing Inward and in most cases, at the very least, is pushing against your heart!!! I have seen first hand just how debilitating it can be- Every time I see my son slump over to try to catch his breath it saddens me. Good luck and don't give up!

Hey I had exactly the same problem as you. I noticed my pectus when I was around 10 and I'm now 14 with the Nuss procedure done. I had the procedure done at great Ormond street London. And yes it was the most painful thing ever and I had this done last September and I'm still not allowed to do sport, but other than sport I'm pretty much back to normal. I'm also the same I can fill a c-cup but they look an a, trust me your not alone lots of girls are feeling the same. Hope you can find a way to sort things soon.kind regards.

I can relate to your problems. We both have the same 'I have C cup but it looks like A' thing (and let's be honest, it sucks. A lot!) and that sports thing is the same as well. If I got the chance to get the surgery, I'd take it. I can't afford it right now because I just started a new job but I'll definetely fight for it in the future. A few years ago I was really unsure about everything, hid myself and my family wasn't helping me at all. (They even joked about it)
It must be really hard for you to go through this...I'm sorry. You should definetely talk to a doctor about it (I talked to a specialist about it because my regular doctor barely knew anything about the Nuss surgery). Depending on the severity of your PE they could try to help you talk to your family and convince them that the surgery might be really helpful.
You can always send me a message if you have problems or need someone to talk to :)