Pectus carinatum is an overgrowth of costal cartilage causing the sternum to protrude forward. It primarily occurs among four different patient groups, and males are more frequently affected than females. Most commonly, pectus carinatum develops in 11-to-14-year-old pubertal males undergoing a growth spurt.

People with pectus carinatum usually develop normal hearts and lungs, but the deformity may prevent these from functioning optimally. In moderate to severe cases of pectus carinatum, the chest wall is rigidly held in an outward position. Thus, respirations are inefficient and the individual needs to use the accessory muscles for respiration, rather than normal chest muscles, during strenuous exercise.

Medically speaking, a bird chest or Pectus carinatum is a deformity in the human body which causes the ribs and the sternum in men to protrude out, that gives him a bird-like appearance – more info on this page (university of california in san francisco).

Possible Reasons For A Bird Chest

  • One of the reasons for developing pigeon ot bird chest is a deficiency of Vitamin D levels in the body.
  • If an individual undergoes an open heart surgery, that could also lead to the protrusion of the sternum.

Getting Rid Of The Bird



External Bracing Technique

The use of orthotic bracing, pioneered by Sydney Haje as of 1977, is finding increasing acceptance as an alternative to surgery in select cases of pectus carinatum. In children, teenagers, and young adults who have pectus carinatum and are motivated to avoid surgery, the use of a customized chest-wall brace that applies direct pressure on the protruding area of the chest produces excellent outcomes. Willingness to wear the brace as required is essential for the success of this treatment approach.

The brace works in much the same way as orthodontics (braces that correct the alignment of teeth). The brace consists of front and back compression plates that are anchored to aluminum bars. These bars are bound together by a tightening mechanism which varies from brace to brace. This device is easily hidden under clothing and must be worn from 14 to 24 hours a day. The wearing time varies with each brace manufacturer and the managing physicians protocol, which could be based on the severity of the carinatum deformity (mild moderate severe) and if it is symmetric or asymmetric.


For patients with severe pectus carinatum, surgery may be necessary. However bracing could and may still be the first line of treatment. Some severe cases treated with bracing may result in just enough improvement that patient is happy with the outcome and may not want surgery afterwards.

If bracing should fail for whatever reason then surgery would be the next step. The two most common procedures are the Ravitch technique and the Reverse Nuss procedure.

Workout & Bodybuilding Could Prove To Be Of Help


After adolescence, some men and women use bodybuilding as a means to hide their deformity. Some women find that their breasts, if large enough, serve the same purpose. Some plastic surgeons perform breast augmentation to disguise mild to moderate cases in women. Bodybuilding is suggested for people with symmetrical pectus carinatum.

The affected person has to focus on getting fuller muscle look to cover for the protruded part. These exercises will help them do just that .

1 Chest exercises

  • Barbell bench press
  • Dumbbell fly
  • Inclined press
  • Pushups

2 Shoulder Exercises

Some of the best exercises to work out the shoulder muscles include the following.

  • Dumbbell shoulder press
  • One arm side laterals
  • Front plate raise
  • Reverse Fly
  • Side lateral raise