Other Conditions of the Chest Wall

Chest wall anomalies include a broad spectrum of congenital anomalies. All of these deformities should be evaluated by a pediatric surgeon. Some may require immediate repair, while others may simply need to be observed over time. At Stanford Children’s Health, we are known for treating rare chest wall deformities. The following are some of the other conditions we treat:

Poland syndrome

This rare syndrome affects approximately 1 in 30,000 births. The following are some abnormalities it may include:

  • Absence of part or all of the muscles of the chest wall (pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, serratus anterior, rectus abdominus, latissimus dorsi).
  • Absence of breast tissue or nipple deformities.
  • Fusion (syndactyly) or shortening (brachydactyly) of the fingers and toes.
  • Absent axillary hair and limited fat layer under the skin.

Slipping rib syndrome

Slipping rib, also called “clicking rib” or “painful rib syndrome,” occurs when ribs in the lower chest slip or move. Symptoms vary, but some children feel a sharp pain followed by a dull ache. Diagnosis is mostly clinical, and treatment often includes exercises, home remedies, or surgery in rare cases.

Sternal cleft

This rare deformity can be associated with congenital cardiac defects and defects of the abdominal wall. A sternal cleft is a gap in the sternum (breastbone) that can span part or the entire length of the bone. The gap in the sternum may impair breathing. It can also result in decreased protection of the underlying organs, such as the heart and lungs.