Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Pectus excavatum

Gracelin has a pectus excavatum. You can see it fairly well in these pictures. (I love the belly button picture BTW) I remember the first time I noticed it. She was around 4 months old, and in the bathtub. I noticed the water was pooling in it, and I was worried she was having retractions. Since it was time for a well-baby check, I asked her pediatrician about it while we were there. He called it a chest dimple and told me it was merely cosmetic, that we could choose to do surgery later to correct it. Since then, I have done some research on it, and it may be more than cosmetic. Some people with severe deformation can have compression on their lungs and heart. That is a scary prospect to me. Sometimes I worry that she'll have health issues (there I go worrying again).

Besides the health reasons, I wonder what it will do for her body image and self esteem. When she's clothed it is not noticible. But what about when she wears a bikini or starts puberty. Will it be more noticible then? I'm sure it will. Its difficult enough for normal children to have healthy self-images during their teenage years. What about a poor child with a physical deformity.

Is that what she has? A deformity? It makes it sound awful. I prefer chest dimple. Afterall, dimples are cute. RIGHT?


LisserB said...

I didn't realize that Gracie had that. Does it bother her now (physically-pain or anything?). Like you said, you can't see it with through her clothes.

Are you considering surgery to correct it? What exactly is it, if you don't mind me asking?

I love the belly button pic too. Bryn looks entralled with Gracie's belly.

*hugs* Melissa

Kristina said...

Well, Gracie is certainly cute!!

As for her chest dimple... how involved is the surgery to fix it? How dangerous are the complications if you do nothing? Is this something where you can wait and see what happens?

If so, wait and see if it bothers her. If it doesn't and her health doesn't seem to be affected then leave it, if it does bother her then look into surgery.

I love the pic of Brynlee playing with Gracelin's belly button... you certainly produce beautiful little girls!! TTYL-Kristina

Anonymous said...

I'm a 26 year old woman and I have pectus excavatum. Judging from the photos her case is not particuarly severe so she may not have the associated health problems, obviously that's for a doctor to tell you though (or time will tell). I have a very severe case and I can tell you the phycological trauma that comes with it is worse than the health problems. I do get chest pain and have trouble breathing but mainly it's the feelings of being abnormal that affect you.

If I were you I'd keep my eye on it and if need be operate early, the earlier the better. Apparently there's more success the younger the patient and from a suffers point of view it would be good to avoid the heart ache of having such an obvious deformity (or dimple, I like that). I told my mother about mine when I was 15 and she said I was being silly and there was nothing wrong with me (quite obviously untrue, I have an extreme case), subsequently it was never operated on and now I feel it's too late. I never wear anything but the highest round neck tops because it continued to get worse as I got older and now goes from top to bottom with one side sticking out more than the other. Sounds nice hey? I had a normal chest at six but it grew worse during puberty.

I'm telling you this purely so you don't make the mistake my mother made and leave your daughter to a life full of insecurity and pain. This literally rules my life and I'd hate to see such a young child miss the chance to be "normal" when it's not too late. Obviously it's a huge decision (surgery is painful and involved), but I thought you may like to hear from a sufferer, people tend to blow off the phsycological side of PE as unimportant but it can have a huge effect on quility of life and should be taken most seriously.

She's a gorgeous little girl and I truly hope she's very happy and healthy whatever happens... Good luck.

Erica said...

My daughter has PE as well and from the research Ive done, surgery can't be done until after puberty anyway. Honestly, the surgery sounds horrific but obviously would be worth it in the long run if it is a serious case.

Part of the reason to wait until puberty is that the dimple may stay about the same as it is now, which will be barely noticable in an adolescent/ adult and definitely not worth surgery. Or it may worsen. There is not really any way to know when they are so young.

Don't stress about it for now, and don't make a big deal of it as she gets older - don't bring it to her attention, and be very matter of fact about it when she notices on her own that it is different.

Anonymous said...

I am a 30 year old female and of course have had PE since forever. To be honest I have never been self conscious. I cant even recall that anyone ever noticed it except my mother. No one was mean about it, you couldnt really notice it, except I am hunched over a bit but what with all the desk sitting we do since elementary that is pretty standard. I have a slight S in my spine which might be related to the PE. I have seen a specialist and was told surgery was not necessary, it is not shallow it the bowl sits lower on my chest so my heart was ok he said. Fast forward 8 yrs later my cardiologist told me I have bicuspid valve so I am not sure if that is related to PE, I can not run for long periods of time I do get some chest tightening and fatigued faster. Pregnancy was ruled out to be safe though. I had a heart ultra sound to find out about the bicuspid, ask your doctor for one if she has a hear murmor thats how they figured out I had something wrong. Best of luck!