Other Rare Conditions of the Chest Wall

Chest wall anomalies include a broad spectrum of congenital anomalies. All of these deformities should be evaluated by a pediatric surgeon. Some may require immediate repair. Other defects may simply need to be observed over time. Examples of rare anomalies of the chest wall include:

Poland syndrome

This syndrome affects approximately 1/30,000 births. It can include the following abnormalities:

  • Absence of part or all of the muscles of the chest wall (pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, serratus anterior, rectus abdominus, latissimus dorsi)
  • Absence of breast tissue or nipple defomities
  • Fusion (syndactyly) or shortening (brachydactyly) of the fingers and toes AND/OR
  • Absent axillary hair and limited fat layer under the skin

Sternal cleft

This is a rare deformity that can be associated with congenital cardiac defects and defects of the abdominal wall. A sternal cleft is a gap in the sternum (breast bone) that can span part or the entire length of the bone. The gap in the sternum may impair breathing. It can also result in decreased protection of the underlying organs, such as the heart and lungs.