Texas Children’s Hospital Celebrates 1000th Pectus Carinatum Patient

Press Release

Above: Dr. Mark Mazziotti pictured with advance practice providers MacKenzie Fugate (left) and Jamie Alexander (right)

HOUSTON (January 16, 2024) – Texas Children’s Hospital is proud to celebrate a new treatment milestone: its world-renowned Pectus Program has successfully treated its 1000th pectus carinatum patient.

“We are incredibly proud of our team for reaching this important milestone,” said Dr. Mark V. Mazziotti, Director of the Pectus Program at Texas Children’s and Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. “Because this condition occurs mainly in adolescent patients, it can have a wide range of impacts — not only physically, but also socially and psychologically — at a very crucial time in a child’s development. People with pectus carinatum often struggle with reduced self-esteem. Successful treatment can therefore have an immediate impact on self-image, as well as on quality of life in the long run. Texas Children’s Pectus Program is highly specialized and prides itself on offering individualized care — we are privileged to make a life-changing difference for so many patients across Texas, the region and the country.”

The Pectus Program is part of Texas Children’s Division of Pediatric Surgery and is run by a specialized team of pediatric surgeons and advanced practice providers that treat an assortment of chest wall abnormalities. The two most common types are pectus carinatum (or “pigeon chest”), which is a deformity where the breastbone and ribs are pushed outward, and pectus excavatum, where the chest has a sunken or caved-in appearance.

Pectus carinatum often gets worse as a child grows, particularly during puberty. The condition occurs in about 1 out of every 1,000 children and ranges in severity. The standard treatment for pectus carinatum has radically improved over time — whereas it used to involve large, complicated surgeries with extended hospital stays, the first line of treatment is now most often nonsurgical bracing. By applying pressure to the protruding breastbone and cartilage, a dynamic compression brace will gradually reshape the chest wall. The process of correction will often take several months to two years, depending on how fast and how much a child grows. 

The brace, known as the FMF Dynamic Compression System (DCS), is an external chest compression device that is adaptable to the sternal protrusion and applies concentrated, measurable pressure to specific areas of the chest. Bracing is both highly effective and free of major complications.

Texas Children’s Pectus Program is one of the top chest wall treatment programs in the nation with many decades of experience in all levels of care. Its multidisciplinary team includes expert surgeons, nurses and nurse practitioners, certified orthotists, pulmonologists, cardiologists and anesthesiologists. 

Learn more about Texas Children’s Pectus Program.

About Texas Children’s

Texas Children’s, a nonprofit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The system includes the Texas Children’s Duncan NRI; the Feigin Tower for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, the first hospital devoted to children’s care for communities north of Houston. The organization also created Texas Children’s Health Plan, the nation’s first HMO for children; Texas Children’s Pediatrics, the largest pediatric primary care network in the country; Texas Children’s Urgent Care clinics that specialize in after-hours care tailored specifically for children; and a global health program that s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, visit  www.texaschildrens.org