Q: Dr. Eppley, my ribcage has been deformed and “caved in” on all sides from sleeping on floors and on cheap memory foam mattresses. It hurts and my chest is visibly changed to where my chest does not stick out like it used to and my ribcage is noticeably more narrow making my belly protrude more than normal. The ribs in my back are flat also. From the side I now look like the “thinman” whereas I used to have a “manly” pronounced chest. Is there any way a procedure could be done where there are items attached to the ribcage/sternum that would allow for an external “pulling” force/apparatus to be hooked to it (like cables etc in a 360 degree arc all pulling outward)? Or is there any other procedure that can help?
A: I am not aware of how a ribcage could become deformed, given that most of it is bone, once formed by the teenage years. But that issue aside there are no devices or surgery that can create a ribcage expansion effect that would allow the entire arc of the bony and cartilaginous ribs to be changed to a greater arc for a ribcage expansion effect.
Dr. Barry Eppley