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Pectus Excavatum Repair Part 1 - Exercises to Improve Chest Appearance

george of the jungle, Even brendan fraiser has PE :)

george of the jungle, Even brendan fraiser has PE :)

This hub is about pectus excavatum repair and I will share some exercises and things you can do to improve the appearance of your chest wall without going for the surgery option. As the surgery can take a long time to recover from and can also be very expensive and difficult in terms of getting insurance cover.

I may also write an article on how to get insurance cover if anyone is interested. These exercises are for people with mild to moderate pectus excavatum and remember if you feel any pain please stop immediately. Pectus excavatum repair is a slow process and requires consistent work to maintain and bring that sternum back to its original position.  


General Exercise & Posture

Pectus Excavatum repair will benefit from any sort of physical exercise. I have a few friends who joined the army when they had pectus excavatum and came out of it with an incredibly improved chest wall appearance.

They believe all that exercise and standing straight and marching has helped incredibly. Posture is something that can have a huge impact on how bad or good your chest will appear.

The best general exercises for improving your chest appearance are Running, Jogging, Swimming and Yoga. 

Weighted Exercises  

A great weight exercise to improve your pectus excavtum is the dumbbell pullover or barbell pullover. This exercise is great at strengthening chest muscles as well as getting a great expansion in the rib cage and helps push that sternum out, and don’t forget to warm before any short of weight exercise and take it easy.

The way I do this exercise at home is to either use a simple weight bench or lie down on the floor with a thing pillow placed behind under your back around where your sternum sinks to give your back a slight arc. This helps emphasize pressure on the sunken sternum area.

Improve Posture to Improve your Pectus Excavatum

Breathing exercises 

Deep breathing exercises can be incredibly beneficial to people with pectus excavatum as it will expand the ribcage and push out your sternum.


1. Stand straight with good posture

 2. Keep hands by your side and inhale, take a big breath, as big as you can possibly do and push out your chest.

 3. Hold your breath for 5-30 seconds (5 or less for beginners and 30 for more experienced people) and place your hands in the position seen below except not sitting, hand clasped behind upper neck .(note: don't kill yourself holding your breath doing this even for a short period you will feel it the more you do it. The aim is to expand the chest as large as possible.


This breathing technique in just as effective lying down on the ground or sitting straight in a chair just remember to breath in DEEP and if you do this consistently you should notice some improvement in about 3 months, if not you should notice your posture to have benefited from the exercises

the picture below shows how your arms should be placed behind your head. You can see the arrows pointing towards the back muscles, people with pectus excavatum will experience very tight back muscles and this is due to the pressure of the sunken sternum , I actually have some pretty dark looking stretch marks on my back because of P.E.

Scroll to Continue

Broom Twist  A simple exercise pectus excavatum repair exercise grab a long pole or broom stick and place it behind your neck and grab the stick with each hand about shoulder width apart. From then begin to twist slowly and controlled at the waist. This exercise will help bring in those flared ribs.  Other exercises beneficial to pectus excavatum repair: Yoga, swimming, jogging/running   


Continue on to Part 2 for Exercise Routine for Pectus Excavatum

This is part 1 of pectus excavatum repair , part 2 will contain more detailed exercise information

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Comments on August 02, 2016:

I agree with newcents, i have been doing the exact same exercises he and expectus mentioned and have improved my PE a bit. I hope to get a nice improvement in a near future. Will be doing the exercises everyday for results.

Newcents on August 27, 2014:

Hey - I just came across this. I have pectus excavatum and am approaching my mid 30s. I looked at surgery and was turned down because of my age. I wanted to add my thoughts. As you have stated, breathing exercises are important. I would submit that they are the most important ally in this fight. Your lungs, which are extremely strong in pushing on your sternum by holding your breath and focusing on holding your hands behind your head - this is the single most important aspect of your entire post. After doing this and focusing on sticking your chest out as far as possible while holding your breath for 5 to 30 seconds (as much as you can handle) then after you finish holding your breath grab your flared ribs and pull them in with your hands while continuing to hold your chest out, I have noticed lots of popping and movement in my sternum. Doing this as many times in a day as you can handle and also pushing above your "dip" in your sternum with both hands, I have noticed great results. I am not a medical professional and am only mentioning this as it has assisted in my own experience of encouraging my chest to flatten - a plunger. Find an industrial strength plunger and use it sparingly to encourage the sternum and rib attachment to additional movement by placing it in your affected area for a few seconds at a time. 30 to 60 seconds and continue with your breathing exercises. This really helps to encourage movement of the sternum. I have asthma. In the past, before doing my pectus breathing exercises, going to my parents house or my wife's grandparent's house I always had to take my inhaler. They have pets, don't clean as well, live in different states than my family with different pollen / dander, etc. Doing the pectus breathing exercise alone has opened up my chest so much and caused my flared ribs to move down to a more normal position (by applying pressure to the highest point on the flared ribs on either side using my hands immediately after a breathing exercise), I no longer need an inhaler! Previously, my rib cage was so bunched up, it was restricting my lungs. Now I feel like I have a fresh set of lungs and I haven't had an asthma flare up since! Being in my mid 30s and noticing progress, I have hopes for those older as well in noticing progress with correcting pectus Without surgery.

TapeLee on April 06, 2014:

HI I'm twenty this year. I'm 6 feet tall male and i have pe. I have been trying out these exercises for more than 2 months now. But I cant notice any difference neither better or worse. I think some of the OTHER exercises I do at the gym somehow worsened my PE condition. Can I do pull ups or sit ups? I feel these exercises squeeze my rib more than they do to expand it. Does sleeping posture affects the growth of my rib cage too?

Clalagect on November 19, 2013:

WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..extra wait .. …


Tara Nicholls on November 12, 2013:

Sk... Fully correct doesn't mean perfect, but the nuss is the only way the specialists have said the sternum can be shifted outward, and it's pretty serious surgery. I have opted to do Cranial Sacral Therapy on my kids and will send them to an osteopath before I put an external brace on my kids when the surgeons at SICK KIDS hospital said any external brace will push the sternum in and make it worse.

It should be noted also on here that it is a form of rotatores scoliosis and that the exercise suggestions are fantastic on here if its a functional scoliosis and will help reduce further rotation if it's mechanical.

Cameron on November 11, 2013:


Awesome resource.

I'll have to check out those posture braces.

IM making a PE website myself.

Please check it out a tell me what you think.



roberto on September 24, 2013:

When I was 17 years old, I underwent a surgical operation (Ravitch procedure) in order to correct a severe form of sunken chest in Switzerland. The surgeon suggested swimming for improving my conditions. It is useful to practise weighlifting after some years, naturally under control of trainers.

Jim on October 28, 2012:

Thanks a lot

sk on October 20, 2012:

"Fully correct"

What is that mean, Tara11?

In my opinion there is no such a thing as "full correction". There is full recovery. But correction? No. This is only in the eyes of the beholder.

When speaking about Pectus excavatum the exact word that makes sense is IMPROVEMENT.

Described here exercises lead to improvement.

And here are some alternatives (I've tried only Vacuum bell, and still using it):

Vacuum bell:


Tara11 on September 13, 2012:

My children both have severe p.e. at the hospital for sick children the specialist said the braces are actually for pigeon chest, not for excavatum, and that an external brace will only put more pressure on the sternum and therefore heart. Apparently the only way to fully correct p.e. is with Nuss brace which is an incredibly painful procedure and if active can twist and cause further complications or even death. It is only for people who's lives are already at risk or don't play contact sports. Down the road it can also increase chances for spontaneous pneumothora

Footballer on August 07, 2012:

Are this breathing exercises really working? Do you guys think it would help with doing that, pullovers and a good posture?

A guy from Norway :)

My favorite PE exercise on July 10, 2012:

My favorite exercise that gives me the best results PLUS i can actually feel it when i'm done, is the pullover. I lie flat on my weight bench, with my head hanging off the edge (so basically sitting very far up on the weight bench.) and I take about 40 pounds of weight, holding it straight out above my head, (don't drop them on your face) then slowly extend my arms back and level with my body bring the weight to a level position behind my head keeping my arms straight the whole time. And then back up in the air above my face again. I do about 3 sets of 10 and when i'm done I can COMPLETELY feel my chest is pulled out a little bit. It feels good.

PS - holla back

devabrat9 on July 03, 2012:

Yoga poses are among the favorite exercise to correct posture problems. There is a yoga for back pain, for weight loss, for pregnant moms and meditative yoga which is the simplest form of yoga pose.

sparkz on May 28, 2012:

i have been doing dumbell pullovers and upper ab exercises and i am actually seeing a difference. just had to share

GamerProZ on May 07, 2012:

Hi I'm 16 years old and I have a mild case of P.E that is probably at most 1 - 2.5 cm and I was wondering if my current exercises will help me: 4-5 times at the gym doing several chest exercises including dumbbell pullovers, broom twist for 5-6 minutes each day, and deep breathing. I personally don't like the brace and was just wondering if this will help me see results because I just started this routine about a couple weeks ago. Oh and if possible could you please tell me when I can see any results because sometimes when I look at the mirror and still see it there I get really discouraged and feel like what I'm doing is useless.

Rahul Rawat on March 17, 2012:

Thanks you helped a lot

sk on January 11, 2012:

The latest and probably the most precise description of Rader Chest Pull - read here:

JohnnyFrost on January 10, 2012:

Hi all.

I'm a 24 year old male who is physically fit and has PE.

There's some really great bits of information here and I feel that I've have hugely benefited from the breathing exercises. I'm doing the gym scene (cardio and weights training) and I'm working on increasing my BMI (body mass index) by bulking up, as this is a good way to look great and decrease the appearance of PE.

I've been self-conscious about my chest for years and have spent a lot of time trawling the web for "quick fixes" and inexpensive corrective procedures only to be left with the harsh realization that it costs more than "an arm and a leg" to fix the chest.

With this sobering thought in mind I decided to work on gaining more body mass. As this can be turned into muscle, which is something we all want. I'm currently working on my pecs and abdominal area and already I can see the foundations of a great new image.

For anyone that's frustrated, depressed or really upset about the way they look then just remember this quote: ["if we are all born the same then what would bring us together?."]

Good luck to you all.

Peace, from New Zealand

SK ANSAR on January 07, 2012:

Hi Dear,

My chest is bend so, if you have any tips pls provide me i will use to improve my self

Pls Help me.

If have any question pls forward me a mail. My mail id is

Sam on December 16, 2011:

Hey, I'm 15 and I had an operation to try and repair the my pectus excavatum, but its still far from looking like a normal chest, so I was just wondering wether these excersises would work or be useful?

alex on November 26, 2011:

hey expectus,

when i do the breathing exercises do i start off with my hands by my side and then clasp them round my neck when i breathe in? or do i have my hands starting clasped around my neck when i do the breathing exercise?

deacon on November 22, 2011:

This board has helped me immensely. After testing I've found my pectus is very mild (to me it looked severe). I always found it annoying that there wasn't a lot of people posting things that they found successful in repairing their pectus. About 2 months ago I started working on my posture, and doing breathing exercises everyday, and I have noticed a marked improvement in the depth of my pectus (about 1cm) and its overall appearance. I'm now even starting to shed some of the self-consciousness that had plagued me my entire adolescence. Now that my lung capacity has improved I will now try and add running and ab exercises into my routine, hopefully it will help as well. I hope this info will inspire others and even help repair their pectus. Do not get discouraged... the change is slow, but it does work.

Glen on November 06, 2011:

H there. I have fairly severe PE and looking for recommendations for a good posture brace that will target flared ribs. I want to use it in conjunction with a weights and exercise routine... Any suggestions?

IWouldLiketoKeepAnonymous on October 26, 2011:

Thanks for all the info man, Now i know there's a fix for my "problem"

andy on October 05, 2011:

@bee thanks bro that really encouraged me :)

Bee on September 21, 2011:

I might add.. Im 24 and have been gymming quite abit too. Id suggest working on ur chest abs and back it helps with hole to body ratio and helps with posture. Id still recommend doing the whole body. And stretch you hamstrings.. because pectus peeps including myself have really tight hammies for some reason.

Posture + Weights + Breathing exercises + some sort of corset to fix flaring ribs = A worthy improvement

I feel better about myself already... starting to see it more as a difference than a deformity.

Best of Luck guys.

Bee on September 21, 2011:

This stuff actually works... wow thanks Pectus dude. I kinda wish doctors had this kind of information as well. Im extremely impressed with the results... and all i have done is the breathing exercisies and tied a string around my body to correct my assymetric flared rib. I don't know how permanent these changes are but ive only been doing it for one week.

Sam C on August 17, 2011:

Hello everybody I'm 17 years old and i have a moderate case of pectus excavatum about 1 year and a half ago I was very self consious about my pectus and I had a very low self esteem but then I joined the gymnastics team for my school, after the season ended my body changed significantly because it involved a lot of stretching and a lot of of strength training involving my bodyweigh after that I believed I could do anything, over the past year up until now I have been working out and trying the

excercises above and I still continue doing gynastics and my pectus changes little by little, I may not know much now but I'm still learning and trying new things if anyone wants some advice just email me at

nikola on August 10, 2011:

hey expectus how to do the Breathing exercises ??? on the chair or standing ???

Dave on July 19, 2011:

I'm 59 years old and only found this 3 weeks ago. My PE gives me a sunken chest of about 4cm. Already I've found that the exercises have adjusted the bottom of my ribcage so I can wear a tighter shirt without being self conscious about it. The sternum is still sunk but I intend to push on with the deep breathing. Some of it may be too late for me now, but it's already made some difference. Thank you.

tommy on July 12, 2011:

hi guys

I'm nearly 16 :) and im very worried about my Pectus Excavatum . are there any techniques that are good for my age? please reply to me as im very worried and people lough at me in school :(

deadlyteddy4 on June 20, 2011:

im 18 and i do workout in the gym but my PE is strange because my right pec is like anyone elses, but my sternum dips in about 1.5cm and seems to fall to the left, making my chest look like someone has taken a small chunk out of the left side, are there any specific exercises that i should focus on my left pec, or should i continue working both the same?

Leo on June 14, 2011:

Thank... my heart is full of hope that this disorder could be cured.

Dan on May 11, 2011:

Im 19, and with the pullovers and deep breathing, i have actually seen quite a difference on how much my sternum has gone outwards with all the pressure it puts on my sternum, it has helped my self-esteem greatly, thanks

billy on April 26, 2011:

hello i live in southern california and have pe i am a 32 year old male who wants to have surgery i have chest pains and trouble breathing. i am new to your site i was wondering if there is any sugeons in southern california? i have kaiser permente insurance and how can i convince them to pay for it and not just say its cosmetic?

Davin on April 25, 2011:

Hi, I have P.E. and I'm a martial artist, should I avoid hits to the chest?

rex on April 17, 2011:

hey jacob how big was your dip? and how many breathing exercises you been doing per day? thanks

Jacob on March 26, 2011:

Hello, I Have a moderate case and have been following the breathing exercises along with with about 40 push ups and press ups for about a month now, The improvement has been huge and I Believe as soon as I start running about 2 miles every other day my dip will all but vanish thank you so much man for taking the time to post this article and for anyone wondering whether to try this or not I really do suggest at least trying these exercises thank you so much man . Much love from the Uk

daniel on March 25, 2011:


how much would the nuss procedure cost in AUD?

Paddy on March 24, 2011:

Hi, how long roughly dies it take for chest appearance to improve?

Joe on March 06, 2011:

I just became 18 and noticed my PE is much more noticeable now. I was wondering if its too late as the bones in my rib cage have already solidified and probably are not as malleable as it used to be.

Richard on February 24, 2011:

Hey, I have moderate PE and have been doing the breathing exercises for a few months now, and I have been finding that recently, it is sometimes painful to take in deep breaths. I am in band so i have to take deep breaths to play my instrument. I was wondering if there are any problems that could come up if i ignore it and if it is normal to experience any chest pains while doing exercises to fix PE

rex on February 23, 2011:

hey silverkeen, what is the rader chest pull? and how is it effecttive to fixing PE?

hey expectus should i do the chest and breathing exercises before or after doing dumbell pullovers?

thanks guys :)

silverkeen on February 06, 2011:

Hi iikii,

I'm not a RADER CHEST PULL expert, but in my opinion this pain don't have to be normal. Since I'm experience such pain from time to time also, and it bothers me a lot, I'm trying to avoid it by shrugging my shoulders slightly and slight bend my arms in elbows. Also, at the peak of every breathing I try to curve my upper back backward (as a small hump). But try different positions to find your own way to avoid this pain. Also, at the every beginning of the exercise don't try too hard to push your hands down but slightly increase your efforts to the maximum for the last 5-7 repeats.

In my opinion, the pain that is normal for this exercise, is located round sternum and sometimes muscle pain in upper arms.

Sam on January 12, 2011:

Hello I was just wondering what are the best excercises I should do for a moderate pe because I go to the gym like every day and lift weights and at the end of every workout I do dumbbell pull overs and i had been doing this since the last summer I grew I lot stronger than before and I grew muscle in my chest and I improved my chest appearance but I don't think my sternum got pushed and which kind a made my pe look a little bit worse so I was wondering what kind of exercises should I do and for how long during the day

iikii on January 10, 2011:

Hi, i just started doing the breathing exercises and the rader chest pull and i have been experiencing sharp tension in the middle of my upper back when i trying to expand my chest.

Is that normal?

silverkeen on January 02, 2011:

Hi to all.

@Joelw, I am the one that was suggesting you to use a vacuum bell on your post in youtube. But only if your condition is not Marfan syndrome.


The most important thing in improving chest appearance is not building a muscle mass - it is all wrong advice I am hearing almost everywhere - you have to build your RIB CAGE. To expand it there are several exercises, but the most useful of them is called RADER CHEST PULL.

Brief description:

The Rader Chest Pull is essentially a freehand exercise. Perform by gripping a vertical support such as that on a fixed squat or power rack at chest or forehead height, and move about 16” back. From this starting position, forcibly draw your torso forward and upward in an endeavor to breast the support while inhaling maximally. Exhale upon reverting to the initial position.

For more detailed information read here:

and here (almost at the bottom of the page, labeled "RADER HIGH CHEST PULL"):

Honema on November 10, 2010:

Hiii.. I have pectus since birth.N this have abashed me a lot ..I just wanned to have good body i went gym regularly. N this has become a cause for lack of confidence in me.i hated people asking questions abt my chest structure...Should i spend more time doing dumbell pullovers...

Please suggest me wat to do..I vl be highly thankful to u.

Joelw on October 09, 2010:

IF you want to see how severe my chest is watch my youtube video:

I posted it at the start of the year my chest is slightly worse now ;(

I extremely depressed, due to the fact ive been ashamed of my chest all my life it has truly ruined my life so far..

If you also have PE please email me: or if you have a msn or yahoo you can add me.

I really want to talk to anyone who suffers from the same condition as me as i have noone at all to talk to about it.

Joelw on October 09, 2010:

Benisthename - when you have a mild case of pectus excavatum and try to make it look better it isen't exactly going to come out, i suggest you do some weights but nothing that is straining you. You should try build up muscle around the dent/hole will look a lot better.

>>I am truly the most unlucky 15 year old, i have have pectus since birth, mine has always been bad and has got severe over the past 3-4 years. I have always been very ashamed of my chest and never completed my swimming lessons when i was younger because i hated people asking questions about my chest and always judging me.. Today I don't know how to swim and i truly can't even remember the basics. I don't have enough confidence to get lessons, even private lessons.. I suppose im quite a handsome 15 year old guy.. girls think I am but they don't think im good looking when my shirt is off :( I am 5"11 and weigh around 135 pounds and have very broad shoulders and a wide chest.

(PHYSICALLY) - recently my chest has physically given me a lot of pain, by a lot of pain i mean pain that numbs the rest of my body and hurts so much that I can't breathe> its a jabbing/cramp in both sides of my chest and quite al ot of the time where my heart is

Benisthename on October 07, 2010:

thanks tomfoolery! Question for anyone, has any of the stuff worked for you yet? I have corrected my posture by sitting up straight, and the past few nights i have slept on my bed with no pillows so my back is straight. Occasionally i stretch backwards and i hear popping noises in my chest. I also do 20 push ups every night. When i read this i measured my depth and it was 2 and a half centimeters deep about a month and a half ago. I just measured it now and it's still 2 and a half centimeters deep. Am i doing something wrong? is there something I should be doing? Has anyone found a stretch or technique that actually works? Please comment PLEASE.

tomfoolery on September 28, 2010:

the popping noises are just muscle tendons in your chest, had a loud pop one time wrestling around with a buddy chest hurt for a couple weeks even got an xray, nothing was wrong, little pops happen just turning in bed or stretching sometimes also. as for other workouts i've found that dips work well, kick your feet out behind you a little more to isolate the pecs.

Benisthename on August 28, 2010:

Okay, why does my indent start making popping noises whenever i stretch for flex the muscles on my chest?

Benny on August 20, 2010:

Okay i am correcting my posture, can i sleep on my side? i feel like my chest kinda comes together but its comfortable. As for the deep breathing, when you don't breath it can cause high blood pressure and that isn't good.

iscarechyu on August 19, 2010:

Hi, I've been working on these workouts for about 4 weeks now and i've actually notice some improvement with my chest. The only problem i have now is that my left peck seems to be different from my right. I would really appreciate to hear from you :)

Glenn20012 on August 18, 2010:

hey im 14 thanks for this hub ive already seen results in 1 and a half months! anyone thinking about doing this, do it! its worth the time

Glenn20012 on August 18, 2010:

hey im 14 thanks for this hub ive already seen results in 1 and a half months! anyone thinking about doing this, do it! its worth the time

gregm94 on August 15, 2010:

This is incredibly helpful. Thanks! I'm 16 and, just like a lot of other people on this thread, I have many self esteem issues about it. It gets old being the kid with a hole in his chest. Nobody really knows, but I am really self conscious about it. Thanks for putting this site up. It's really nice to finally see a fix that isn't as risky, expensive, or scary as surgery. Thanks again!

stewy005 on July 24, 2010:

thank you so much i have had so many self-esteem issues because of my pectus excavatum and I'm 14 and in high school and its hard because people have picked on me because of it so anyway thank you.

question on July 22, 2010:


i was just wondering, would holding breath exercise gives any side effects like increased blood pressure, etc?

Alex Magill on July 17, 2010:

This might sound weird but what the hell, I LOVE YOU. For ages ive been asking doctors wht to do with this and if i can get surgery but there all so stubborn and just show me the door. Thank god ive finally found something tht might help. Thank you a lot

ronnie on July 10, 2010:

hey, i did the breathing exersices for about 4-6mins for once a day for 3 months. i didn't really notice any improvement so i stopped doing it for about a month. i will start again and hopefully there will be improvement this time. do you think i should do it 2 times a day and longer than 6 mins this time?

Raj17 on July 03, 2010:


Im 17 right now...december 18 and i have a mild PE,i was wondering which brace i could use to reduce my flared ribs and improve my pectus?if you can give me some brands or models?

lifeshorrible on July 01, 2010:

I tried using a back brace to fix my flared ribs, my left side flares out everytime I breathe, I notice my chest doesn't expand on the left either cause it is expanding down where my ribs are. Is there a way to stop rashes from happening when using the back brace? My skin around the ribs on both sides get scaly and darker colored and itch a lot probably from the friction created everytime I breathe and my ribs expand against the brace.

alex on June 29, 2010:

hey expectus, i have a pe of 2 cm and am almost 16.can you offer me a little guidance on what will be the best way to bring out my sternum, thats what i want to focus on most. thanks

Max on June 27, 2010:

i was also like to know what a good posture is, i cant seem to figure it out, if its putting your back straight and pulling your shoulders back it seems to create a curve in my body :S, am not sure wheter it is a good posture or not i cant think of anything else that would be a good posture, also when i am doing the breathing exercises how should i stand becaause again when i put my shoulders back and back 'straight' there still seems to be a curve in mmy body. Sorry for the long comment. It is very much appreciated and i thank you a lot! :)

Max on June 27, 2010:

Hi this sight is really useful, i am 16 and have mild pe i think, how often should i do deep breaths, will it make my chest appear normal? How long should i wait to expect results?, thankss

Ron on June 21, 2010:

Dear Expectus,

Hi there, I am apologize in advance if this email is too long.

I have Pectus Excavatum and it was a moderate case and I was quite self-conscious about it while growing up. I had the nuss procedure performed on me around the age of 17. However, the bar slipped and the procedure failed. I remember waking up and looking at my chest and it was perfect, even the flared rib seemed to be fixed). However, after it slipped, I was very upset and decided I wasn't going to go through all that pain for nothing and had a second attempt.

After this, my chest was still mildly sunken in and still had the flare rib (more prominent on the left). However, it was already a big improvement and I lived with it. Back then I was around 20.

Now I am 24 years old and recently my self-consciousness has been coming back and I have started emailing may doctors and spent some money on doctors that told me nothing can be done. Currently, if I put a ruler on the deepest part of my sternum and measure up to my left flared rib I have around a 4cm depression. Is this how the measurement should be done?

I feel like it is getting worse and I am very worried about this. I have been following some of the exercises such as pulling my shoulder blades back and deep breathing, but when I deep breath, my sternum sinks in even more which my flared ribs move laterally away from the midline of my body.

I read that you say the vacuum bell was not a good idea and the brace could reduce the flared rib. I would be very happy just to get that flared rib down or anything that could improve my chest appearance. I feel like the more I work-out, the more sunken get.

Do you have any suggestions?

Lastly, which type of specialist or doctos should I see that would know what to do with my condition? I've seen osteologist and may GP's but none of them have even heard of the Nuss Procedure. A friend recommended me to find an osteopath.

Any suggestions would be helpful, I apologize for the long comment.

Thank you for your time :)!

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on June 19, 2010:

MONASSER - there are many cosmetic surgery options including the nuss surgery, implants and plastic surgery to correct the appearance.

Mike - it does sound like you have mild pe but putting on some weight will probably help you fill out more, you are only 15 so its hard to tell what the end result will look like. usually everything is cemented by age 21

Mike on June 18, 2010:

I'm a 15 year old, 6', 140lb guy, but I don't think i have pectus excavatum. I have a normal sternum but my solar plexus is really deep. My sternum is flat as it should be, but it kind of cuts off right where my solar plexus starts, so i just have a little bowl shape, instead of it being filled with tissue. My whole chest is generally really big, my chest around the nipples is 34inches (85cm) so i'm wondering if this is just me being way too skinny. I have really defined ribs on the side, and my sternum is actually defined. You can see the bone underneath. Also, i've always had big pecs even tho i never work out so it makes it look like i have pe. By the way im veeeerrryyy lanky :/. I'm really hoping this will fill in if i just gain wait. Do u think this is possible?

MONASSER on June 12, 2010:

i'm 27 years old Male, i have a Pectus excavatum in the middle of my chest , i have no problem physically with it , i play sports and i go to the gym and lift weight without any problem , the only problem i have is the appearance of it , so is there any cosmetic surgery i can make to repair this area ,

your feedback is highly appreciated


Best Regards

Kevin on June 09, 2010:

hi, how many times a day should i do the breathing excersises and for how long. It seems with me that i have a hole in my chest but also the bones seemed to have formed differently. The bones around my above my p.e. kind of stick out. is there any way i can make that less noticable? thanks.

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on June 09, 2010:

Shaun - you could try a posture brace and some deep breathing exercises to help push everything out , it may just be a mild form of pe

sam - no it wont make it sink more, it may make your pecs larger which may make the appearance of your chest worse

ben - working out and strengthening muscles will always have positive effects on your body and pe, and a good part of recovery involves strengthening weak and over stretched muscles.

ben on June 06, 2010:

hi i have a question similar to sam's i was wondering if working out (abs, chest, etc.) will make my pe stand out more, or decrease it?

sam on May 31, 2010:

will bench pressing make my PE sink more

Shaun on May 30, 2010:

Hello Expectus,

i am not very sure if i'm suffering from PE. my sternum is slightly tilted ( right side is higher than my left side ) from my knowledge, PE is where the sternum sinks into the chest. But i'm facing a different situation where the rib bone right below the end of my sternum is dented inwards. this problem is only occurring to my left side of the chest. my right side of my chest is normal. Do you have any recommended exercise to improve my conditions?

flyer2010 on May 27, 2010:

Hi Expectus,

I have tried to look for a way to contact you privately but I have to post on this instead! Unfortunately I have a mild PE and I just wanted to ask you a few questions regarding it. I would be really greatful if you sent me an email just to tell me your email so I can send you questions privately. My email is


expectus (author) from Land Downunder on May 20, 2010:

what do you mean by ribs sunken? your ribs are not meant to be sticking out they should be drawn inwards protecting your vital organs.

did your surgeon give you some maintenance exercises to do , breathing exercises and stretches? they are useful for getting the most out of your surgery

kitito on May 19, 2010:

Hi Expectus.

My name is Arturo and i am from Spain.I had the Nuss procedure done about 5 years ago. they removed the bar only last year. I felt a bit of pain at the begining but nothing unbearable. I am happy with the results but after the sugery I noticed that my sternum was straight but my ribs on both sides were still a bit sunken, only 1 cm or less though. I think this is due to the sternum, pointing to the left. do you think the excercices would help me to pop them out?? I recently turned 26. Thanks for your help and sorry if there is any grammar mistakes.

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on May 12, 2010:

hi sue, does your son complain of any pain caused by the sunken sternum , breathing exercises could help to get him used to taking in full breaths.

as far as the brown bruise I am not sure that it is related unless it is somehow scar tissue from stretch marks from over tight back muscles due to pe but it hard to tell without a picture.

sue on May 07, 2010:

Hi expectus

I have an 18 yr old son who want's to play football but bets tied quickly. I'm not sure if it's to do with his pe or if he is just unfit. He runs every night but walks part of it due to shortness of breath. Can he play sport and be ok if it's physical. He also has a brown bruise like make on his back that's been there for months. I never thought it could be related to pe until i read your posts. Should he do anything about that?

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on May 05, 2010:

well neutral spine :Pa totally straight back can sometimes put out your lower back and make it curve , natural curves are fine its important to keep note of shoulders rounding, neck posture and lower back

Ari on May 01, 2010:

WoW expectus, Your a great helper, what do u mean by keeping a good posture ... straight back?

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on April 23, 2010:

Zack - hehe :P I didn't know it was that , sorry to hear that but yea don't bother doing it if its causing you extreme pain. Keep doing exercises in the gym and use lifting straps on heavy lifts to avoid hurting your wrists.

Yea the PE vacuum is kind of strange, I tried one and my heart had a freak out and started beating a million miles an hour. The backstroke is great for PE too if your visiting the pool , goodluck

Zack on April 23, 2010:

Geez dude. I said I couldn't do yoga. It's too excruciating. I have found that P90X has more options that don't involve so much wrist pressure, so I will have to settle for that. There is also a local swimming court I am going to try. I already said I have mild PE like Brendan Fraiser up there, and sinks in about an inch after the pectoral midline where abs begin. This is my third week in the gym. I take chest and back very seriously!! I have been doing pullovers too. With my mild PE and weak connective tissue, I wager I SHOULD see some improvement in three months. I think the cartilage would be more malleable in my case. Anyway, there is an update. I just saw the PE vacuum...disgusting.

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on April 19, 2010:

I'm not sure that they send them oversea's, but you could probably set one up yourself with a vacuum bell and brake pump with gauge. You have to look for a high quality one that won't crack or break under pressure

qwertyq on April 18, 2010:

Seems like Dr. Klobe's vacuum bell really works and I am really interested in getting one. Where could I order one? Can they send it in foreign countries in Europe?

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on April 16, 2010:

Sounds like you got it tough Zack I know what you mean about having deceptive broad shoulders I have the same thing :) not that broad shoulders are that bad. The exercises should definitely help hows your posture and how severe would you say your pe is?

I have put on a bit of muscle and it really doesn't look that strange even with slight PE , once posture starts coming into a more neutral position you can get a very normal looking chest, try the deep breathing exercises first they are probably one of the best things , well for me it worked better than any other exercise.

Keep doing the yoga and hang in there :) let me know how you get on and I wish you all the best.

Zack on April 12, 2010:

and I have horrible TMJ! >:O

Zack on April 12, 2010:

oh, and I just did yoga with a yoga mat and a good 45 min video. i underestimated my crap body. I forgot I have a rare carpal and tarsal coalitions (2 tiny bones in each hand and foot fused together in the same way). It created a lump of bone in my wrists doctors and family assumed were ganglion cysts and were going to be removed until they did a pre-op sonogram and found it was part of my body. the next coalition was found in my foot after bussing tables gave my feet arthritis.

why am i telling you this? yoga HURTS my wrists horribly. my hand has a very decreased range of motion, so low I cant hold a basketball to shoot it properly. my right wrist has less range so I noticed my poses were uneven as well. downward dog hurts along with others using a 90degree wrist. doctors don't want to operate on such a delicate area if it is part of my body. i think yoga is the best method to strengthen my messed up chest. damn i am just one unlucky ass.

Zack on April 12, 2010:

This is a cool site. I have mild PE like Brendan Fraiser up there, but also Marfan syndrome. My mutated connective tissue has left my entire body weak. Also, my uncle had a SEVERE PE cavity that required surgery so I know it runs in my family. I have to battle both weaknesses. Weak unstable joints, rounded shoulders, my arms and legs have angled joints, long limbs, sunken chest with my left rib cage unevenly jutting outward into a knob, and I am 6'5" and only 150lbs. I have stayed the same weight for the last 8 years but grew 2in taller! Not to mention a horse stepped on my torso when I was 2 so some growth plates might have been damaged. (not kidding, long story)

I have been depressed about this all my life. You should hear some of the things woman say to me. It sucks because I am real handsome with a shirt on. My broad shoulders lie. I feel like flirting will just lead to embarrassment later on. Will these exercises truly work? I am worried that I will just get a buffer chest with nasty and very ripped muscles clinging to my nasty chest cavity and it wont fix it (I plan on doing EVERYTHING U MENTIONED). Just like growing up, I am worried my body will let me down, like it has countless times before...

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on April 10, 2010:

goodluck ronnie:)

Raj - I would just work on controlled movements with dumbell pullovers, you can try some dumbell flys they seem to help a little bit. I try and go heavy around 20kg or so but its not about the weight its about control and deep breaths in and out.

Alex - keep your hands behind your neck throughout the whole exercise , its meant to help maintain good posture while breathing , also be conscious of your lower back, make sure its also quite straight and not curving back

Alex on April 06, 2010:

Umm well for the deep breathing thing, do i put my hands back at my sides after i exhale? because it says "take a deep breathe then gradually put your hands behind your neck" or do i keep my hands behind my neck the entire exercise?

Alex on April 06, 2010:

Umm well for the deep breathing thing, do i put my hands back at my sides after i exhale? because it says "take a deep breathe then gradually put your neck" or do i keep my hands behind my neck the entire exercise?

Raj on April 02, 2010:

hey,i just bought some dumbells(each 9 lbs),and started with pullovers,is there a specific routine i can use?and what weight you use?

ronnie on March 31, 2010:

Hey thanks for the advice expectus.

i will let you know how things are in a couple months.

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on March 25, 2010:

That Mueller back brace does look like a good one I use something similar just wear it higher up to brace my abs, you have to be a little careful you don't put extra strain on your lower back while using it for your ribs that's why its sometimes its best to get a full body posture vest/corset type device.

For example pushing in the ribs sometimes gives people a slight curve in there back or may even push out the belly area, so it looks like a pot belly, so its best to pull it all together at once

Sam on March 21, 2010:

Does the Mueller back brace work well for bringing in flared ribs and how long do you think it would take for me to see results?

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on March 21, 2010:

ronnie - swimming is really good for PE, especially the backstroke and sure it is a great substitute. great for loosening up those tight back and chest muscles.

with breathing, just breath deeply into your chest, let it expand naturally.

joe - for around 4-5 minutes per session is enough, if you feel light headed or anything like that stop immediately

joe on March 18, 2010:

how many times should i do this deep breathingg?, in one session ?


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