Did you know that Pectus Excavatum and Pectus Carinatum are the most common chest deformities, and both are caused by abnormal growth of the costal cartilage that alters the position of the sternum?

But what sets them apart?

Pectus Excavatum

Pectus excavatum, often referred to as a “funnel chest,” is a congenital deformity in which the chest appears to be sunken or shaped like a funnel. It resembles a bowl-shaped depression in the chest, and the severity can vary from case to case. Although this condition is generally present from early childhood, it often becomes more noticeable during growth, particularly in adolescence.

Pectus Carinatum

In contrast, Pectus carinatum, known as “pigeon chest,” is characterized by the chest protruding forward, making it appear more prominent than normal, due to the ribs and the sternum (the central bone of the chest) sticking out. This condition can be present at birth, but it may also develop during adolescence, often during the rapid growth spurt of puberty. The condition can be associated with genetic issues.

Key Differences

Both of these congenital conditions are present from birth. But what sets them apart?

Let’s highlight the main differences between these two conditions:

1. Appearance: In terms of physical appearance, they are opposites. Pectus Excavatum makes the chest look sunken inwards, while Pectus Carinatum makes the chest protrude outward.


2. Frequency: Although these two chest wall deformities are the most common, Pectus Excavatum is 2 to 4 times more common than Pectus Carinatum.

Pectus Carinatum is diagnosed in 1 out of every 1200 births.

Pectus Excavatum is diagnosed in 1 out of every 400 births.


  1. Treatment: The treatment for these two deformities often varies based on their severity.

Carinatum: The preferred treatment is orthopedic, involving the use of a chest compressor, such as a brace, to maintain the position of the cartilage as the patient grows. Surgery may be required depending on the severity.

Excavatum: Today, numerous correction techniques depend on each patient’s condition. Non-surgical methods like the Vacuum Bell and increasingly less invasive and safer surgical techniques are available.


Remember that if you are affected by either of these conditions or know someone who is, seeking advice from a healthcare professional experienced in these types of malformations is essential to find the therapeutic option that best suits each case.

If you have concerns, Pectus Up can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.