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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Protruding Sternum
February 2003

Q. My cousin is 14 years old. His sternum has gradually been protruding outward over the years. My mom and I are concerned about his health. He says it doesn't hurt him but we are still very concerned. Do you know any type of disorders or diseases that has this as a symptom?

A. Deformities of the chest wall can be an isolated condition or may have associated internal abnormalities. The key will be to establish an accurate diagnosis to clarify the situation. Your pediatrician or a specialist in genetics (inherited conditions) or rheumatology (bones and joints) may be helpful in consultation.

Examples of underlying conditions in which the chest protrudes include Marfan's syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Even if internal structures are fine, surgical correction is a consideration to alleviate physical and psychological stress. Your doctor can direct you in this matter.



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