Pectus carinatum brace
Wearing a chest brace for pectus carinatum is an effective treatment because children’s growing bodies are very flexible during childhood and adolescence. That adaptability means children’s chests can more easily be molded into the correct shape as they grow.
Children’s Mercy uses a customized brace, called the dynamic compression system (DCS). The DCS is an external chest compression brace that applies concentrated pressure to the area of the chest with the greatest protrusion. This state-of-the-art brace corrects an abnormal chest shape the way orthodontics corrects crooked teeth. The brace “remodels” the chest by applying gentle pressure to gradually correct the area of protrusion. Worn continuously and adjusted regularly (typically every 6 to 8 weeks) the brace allows the chest to slowly redevelop into a more normal shape. Once skeletal maturity has been reached, the cartilage in the chest and pectus carinatum will stiffen, and the child will no longer be a candidate for nonsurgical repair with using the brace.
What does the brace look like?
The brace made from a light-weight aluminum that is worn around the chest. It provides pressure from both the front and back to direct the breastbone to neutral position. There are cushioned pads that contact the child’s chest. The main pad is positioned to press against the breastbone. The band is adjustable.
Under normal, loose-fitting clothing, the brace is not easily noticeable.
How long does the brace need to be worn?
When a child first begins wearing the brace, he or she should do so for as many hours of the day as possible (23 out of 24 hours a day). Except for during bathing and sports, your child should wear the brace all day and during the night.
Most children will need to wear the brace full time for about 4 to 6 months and be able to decrease the wear to ~2 times per week until skeletal maturity has been reached for a total time in the brace of about 2 years, though that period can vary. After the chest develops a more normal shape, the brace wear will be slowly tapered to reduce the amount of time that your child wears the brace, much like you wear a dental retainer after orthodontic braces are removed.
Is the brace painful or damaging to the skin?
No, the brace should not be painful to wear. Most children say their chest is slightly sore after they first begin wearing the brace, especially on the front of the chest, but ibuprofen (Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can ease the discomfort. Minimal redness at the contact sites from wearing the brace is normal. Some patients prefer to wear a thin, tightly-fitting, moisture-wicking shirt underneath.
How much does a Pectus Brace cost?
The estimate of prices and traditional charges for professional service are listed on our Pectus Brace billing information page. Every child is different; therefore, there may be services outside of the pricing performed at the time of service and are not included in this summary.
Once your child has been identified as a pectus brace candidate, the clinical team will reach out to the Children’s Mercy Financial Clearance department to pursue preauthorization if your insurance company will cover this service.
If you are concerned about insurance coverage or pectus carinatum brace cost, the Children’s Mercy’s Financial Clearance team can provide details.