Breast Augmentation for Pigeon Chest Deformity
Breast augmentation has consistently been the most commonly requested cosmetic surgical procedure. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS, the leading professional organization for plastic surgeons), its members performed almost 280,000 breast augmentation procedures just in 2015. As you would expect, the vast majority of these breast augmentations were done simply for aesthetic purposes. However, there are some instances in which a breast augmentation may be performed to compensate for a deformity to the natural shape of the breast or the chest.
Pectus carinatum, or pigeon chest deformity, is a classic example in which a breast augmentation can help mask the appearance of a deformity to the shape of the chest. Our surgeons at Jefferson Plastic Surgery have helped many women with this particular deformity gain a more natural appearance to the look of the breasts and the chest region.
What Is Pectus Carinatum?
Pectus carinatum, or pigeon chest deformity, is a congenital condition in which the chest and sternum are bowed outward, given the appearance of a pigeon’s chest. The chest will also be narrow with depressions along the sides of the ribs. The deformity affects approximately one in 400 women. Although heart and lung development are usually normal in women with this condition, there may be a particular susceptibility to breathing problems, given the particular rigidity of the sternum. Surgery can correct the shape of the sternum and ribs, but can be difficult, as it will often involve repositioning the sternum with rods or wires.
Breast Augmentation Procedure
Although a breast augmentation procedure cannot actually correct for the Pectus carinatum deformity, it can reduce its appearance. The goal is to make the breasts stick out further from the chest in order to reduce the prominence of the sternum. Our surgeons can accomplish this in several ways. First, breast implants with a high profile will be used. This means that the implants will have more height than width, making them protrude further out from the chest. Because patients with Pectus carinatum tend toward having narrow chests, implants with higher profiles will better obscure the protruding sternum, as well as cover the full width of the chest.
Additionally, if the implants can be placed behind the chest muscles (subpectorally), instead of behind the mammary glands (subglandular), this will provide additional support for the augmented breasts, which will help further reduce the appearance of the protruding sternum.
Finally, in cases of severe Pectus carinatum, our surgeons recommend using larger sized implants in order to prevent the implants from gradually shifting apart toward the outer edges of the chest and minimizing any cleavage that could be created from a breast augmentation. They also recommend wearing properly supportive bras as much as possible, even at night while sleeping.
If you have severe Pectus carinatum, you can undergo corrective surgery for the deformity. However, it is a complicated procedure because care must be taken not to interfere with proper lung and heart function. On the other hand, if you only have the mild or moderate form of this deformity, a breast augmentation procedure might be the answer to minimize the appearance of the chest and sternum.