The University of Chicago Medicine provides specialized care for pectus excavatum in teens and adults. If you’re experiencing worsening symptoms or seeking a second opinion, our experts can develop a personalized care plan and, if necessary, perform surgical repair.

What is pectus excavatum?

Pectus excavatum occurs when the cartilage, sternum (breastbone), and ribs do not form and grow properly, leaving an indentation in the chest wall. Also called “funnel chest” or “sunken chest,” pectus excavatum is usually detected at birth and can worsen as the body develops during adolescence. Our team of experts specializes in the treatment and management of pectus excavatum in children, teenagers and adults.


In most cases, symptoms are subtle. Some individuals experience no symptoms at all. However, if symptoms develop or worsen, surgical correction may be advised.

Impact on Heart & Lungs

At UChicago Medicine, our specialists work hand-in-hand with cardiac imaging experts, using chest CT scans and echocardiograms to understand how pectus excavatum affects heart and lung function.

In moderate and severe cases, the sunken breastbone can press on the heart or lungs, causing:

  • Shortness of breath during exercise
  • Rapid heartbeat or palpitations
  • Wheezing or coughing
  • Chest and back pain
  • Heart murmur
  • Decreased stamina/increased fatigue

Psychological & Social Effects

Although pectus excavatum is a physical deformity, it’s important to understand the significance of its potential impact on self-consciousness and quality of life. This is one of many important considerations as our specialists develop customized care plans.


When surgery is recommended, our team of experts determines the most appropriate approach based on each individual’s unique needs. Our UChicago Medicine surgeons perform innovative techniques with exceptional skill and excellent outcomes.


Meet Our Pectus Excavatum Physician Team