ALL DEGREES of developmental variation in the shape of the thoracic cage are known to occur, varying from those which are slight and inconsequential to those which are quite serious. The more severe forms may be crippling or in some instances even fatal. The surgeon, as well as the pediatrician or family doctor, must frequently decide whether surgical correction of the deformity is necessary or advisable. The purpose of this paper is to present our experience at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital in the management of congenital deformities of the chest wall.
Several different theories have been proposed to explain the etiology of sternal deformities, but the most recent evidence indicates that an arrest or alteration of embryologie development is probably responsible in many cases. There can be little dispute that the bifid sternum represents an arrest of development since embryologically the sternum develops from 2 lateral cartilagenous bars which