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Teen undergoes surgery to repair sunken chest

Teen undergoes surgery to repair sunken chest

Tyler Steck is feeling more self-confident these days and breathing a little easier.

The 13-year-old will no longer be hesitant to take off his shirt around other teens after having surgery to repair what is commonly referred to as “sunken chest syndrome.”

Diagnosed with severe pectus excavatum, a congenital chest wall malformation, Steck underwent 3.5 hours of surgery on Aug. 2 to help the condition that his mother, Cynthia Steck, said was “squishing” his heart and lungs.

The surgery, named the Nuss Procedure after the doctor who created the less invasive way of treating this problem than cutting open the chest, entailed very carefully slipping a stainless steel stabilizing bar through two small incisions on each side of the chest. Through use of a third incision that allows a camera to be inserted so the surgeon can see inside the chest wall, the bar is carefully placed in a plane between the bottom bone of the sternum and the heart.