Pectus excavatum (funnel chest): a historical and current prospective

Surg Radiol Anat. 2012 Sep;34(7):573-9. doi: 10.1007/s00276-012-0938-7. Epub 2012 Feb 10.


Pectus excavatum (PE) is a relatively common deformity involving the anterior chest wall. It is represented clinically as a conical depression of the sternum and costal cartilages with the apex at the xiphoid process. Associated features and symptoms vary but generally involve respiratory and cardiac abnormalities. Since it's initial description, numerous surgical techniques have been developed to correct PE, with the Ravtich (open) and Nuss (minimally invasive) procedures being the most commonly employed. Although the etiology remains unclear, the pathogenesis of PE is currently thought to involve the overgrowth of the costochondral region of the ribs. In addition, documented case reports of familial pectus excavatum exist, suggesting a heritable form of the defect. Numerous genetic markers have also been discovered, linking PE to various genetic syndromes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Funnel Chest / genetics
  • Funnel Chest / pathology*
  • Funnel Chest / surgery
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Ribs / abnormalities
  • Sternum / abnormalities
  • Thoracic Wall / abnormalities
  • Xiphoid Bone / abnormalities