What is the Diagnosis Process?1

A diagnosis can be made with a fairly simple physical examination. Common questions that a physician might ask include:

  • When was the problem first noticed?
  • Is it getting better, worse, or staying the same?
  • Do other family members have an unusual-shaped chest?
  • What other symptoms are there?

Your physician may suggest other tests to check for associated concerns with your heart and lungs. These tests can assist physicians in visualizing the dip in the breastbone and the placement of the heart as well as monitoring heart and lung function. Tests may include:

  • Physical (stress) test
  • Pulmonary function test
  • CT scan of the chest
  • Chest x-ray
  • Laboratory studies (blood work)
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • Echocardiogram


Pectus excavatum is not preventable, but it is treatable. Patients should seek treatment if they are having physical symptoms and/or psychological symptoms from their pectus condition. Patients are considered candidates for corrective surgery with the following criteria:

  • If regular heart and lung functions or quality-of-life is negatively impacted
  • Severity of the deformity is measured by the Haller index (a ratio calculated by using internal chest measurements)
  • If the deformity leads to significant self-esteem issues, such as clinical depression, or other psychological issues

Only a medical professional can determine the appropriate treatment for any specific condition. Talk to your doctor about the Nuss Procedure and the associated risks, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Metal sensitivity reaction or allergic reaction to the implant (Pectus bar) material (metal).
  • Pain, discomfort, or abnormal sensation due to the presence of the device.
  • Surgical trauma including permanent or temporary nerve damage, permanent or temporary damage to heart, lungs, and other organs, body structures or tissues
  • Skin irritation, infection, and pneumothorax (air leaking in the space between the lung and chest wall which may cause the lung to collapse)
  • Fracture, breakage, migration, or loosening of the implant
  • Inadequate or incomplete remodeling of the deformity or return of the deformity, prior to or after removal of the implant
  • Permanent injury or death
  • For a complete list of risks associated with Zimmer Biomet’s pectus bar, see Patient Risk Information4

All content herein is protected by copyright, trademarks and other intellectual property rights, as applicable, owned by or licensed to Zimmer Biomet or its affiliates unless otherwise indicated, and must not be redistributed, duplicated or disclosed, in whole or in part, without the express written consent of Zimmer Biomet.

To find a doctor near you, click here. For printed information on Pectus Excavatum or Pectus Bar, call 1-800-874-7711.

Talk to your surgeon about whether the MIRPE/Nuss procedure is right for you and the risks of the procedure, including the risk of implant wear, loosening or failure, and pain, swelling and infection. Zimmer Biomet does not practice medicine; only a surgeon can answer your questions regarding your individual symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.