The Riley Children's Chest Wall Program is Indiana’s only multidisciplinary program dedicated to the diagnosis and surgical management of children, adolescents and young adults with chest wall abnormalities.
The Riley Children's Chest Wall Program combines the expertise of board-certified pediatric general and thoracic surgeons, anesthesiologists, pain specialists, nurses, physical and occupational therapists and child life therapists.
We focus on the treatment and management of chest wall or thoracic abnormalities, such as:
- Pectus excavatum (funnel chest)
- Pectus carinatum (pigeon chest)
- Poland syndrome
- Slipped rib syndrome
- Chest wall reconstruction after resection for cancer or trauma
While chest wall abnormalities may show no symptoms, your child may experience the following:
- Symptoms of chest pain
- Shortness of breath with exertion
- Exercise intolerance and/or heart palpitations
Most children and their families first notice their chests changing during early adolescence; however, anomalies may be seen earlier or develop symptoms later. Our program welcomes children of any age.
What to Expect
What to Expect
Your child will initially see one of the pediatric surgeons at any of our conveniently-located outpatient clinics throughout Indiana. After a thorough history and physical examination, you and your child will meet with your child’s surgeon to plan the next steps which may be observation, non-operative management strategies or scheduling a surgery to correct the abnormality.
Diagnostic testing and studies for chest wall abnormalities include:
- CT scan of the chest. This test is used to evaluate the depth and severity of pectus excavatum.
- Pulmonary function testing. Used in some cases to determine whether your child's lung function is affected by the chest wall abnormality.
- Echocardiograph. This test is used to evaluate the function of your child's heart.
The treatment options available to your child depends on the type of chest wall abnormality:
- Pectus excavatum: In children with pectus excavatum, treatment options include surgical repair using minimally invasive thoracoscopic repair (Nuss procedure) or open repair (Ravitch procedure).
- Pectus carinatum: For children with pectus carinatum, treatments include non-operative correction with a brace or open repair surgery (Ravitch procedure).
- Other chest wall abnormalities: In children with Poland syndrome and other chest wall abnormalities, procedures are tailored to the severity and type of condition.
If your child’s treatment includes surgery, we want to optimize your child’s recovery process. We may place an epidural catheter (long narrow tube) placed near the spine in the upper back where we will use medication to control pain. Another option for pain control after chest surgery is cryoablation. This is a process where the surgeon will freeze some of the nerves between the ribs on each side of the chest. This will result in decreased pain sensation in the chest and pain control for your child. The effects of cryoablation usually last between 2 to 3 months. Cryoablation has been found to be safe and effective for improving pain control and shortening hospital stay.
To increase access to our patients and families, we offer follow-up visits through IU Health Virtual Visits. Ask your child's surgeon about a scheduled virtual visit.
Conditions & Services
Our pediatric specialists provide patient- and family-centered care for most related conditions. The links below provide more specific information about some, but not all, of the conditions that we treat.
We offer a number of different Chest Wall Program services. Below are some, but not all, of the services that we provide. If you have a question about a specific service that is not listed here, please contact our program.
Our Team and
Anesthesiology, Pediatric Anesthesiology
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.
Sort through 7 facilities offering Chest Wall Program care by entering your city or zip below.
Related Programs & Departments
Related Programs & Departments
We provide multispecialty care for a number of conditions. Below are links to our related programs & departments.
For Health Professionals
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The Chest Wall Program works closely with referring physicians and families to provide the most convenient care. We also teach medical students and residents, so they can receive training in pediatric surgery and participate in research.Refer A Patient