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Pectus Excavatum (Sunken Chest) and How to Deal With It

Updated on August 24, 2017


Being 13 and having a sunken chest I know how it can effect you self confidence and personality. Me having a moderate case (mine is about 1 and a half inches in) I also know what it can do to your fitness.

When you hit your teens the chest starts to cave in even more so I have more sinking of my chest to go through but in this lens im going to tell you how to live life like someone without a sunken chest. If I can im pretty sure you can, so lets get started.


Do you have a sunken chest

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How To Get Over The Looks Of It?


Embarrassment sort of comes in the package with a sunken chest but we can do something about that. At the start I always had to wear a shirt, I was even scared of showing my family because I was so embarrassed. But not any more.

Step 1. Show your friends and classmates, use it as a magic trick slide you hands down the sides of the hole to show its an ordinary chest that go through the middle and your hand sinks. This will amaze them and they will wonder how you did it, break the magicians number 1 rule and show them your chest. They might be looking at it and asking you questions but its normal because they don't have it they have no idea what it is. ( Just make sure you don't get to stuck up and make it an excuse for getting out of everything)

Step 2. If you in high school you will have to get changed for P.E., if you go change in a cubicle or face a corner and get changed stop doing that and start facing your class and talking to them and if there is another class getting changed, don't be scared of them either.

Step 3. If your confident enough now go to the pool without a shirt, you might get some strange looks but once again they probably have no idea what it is. They probably have something there ashamed of as well, think of it this way at least you have the guts to reveal what your ashamed of. If your not confident enough by now its alright, you could start to work out if you already do work out more than you already do. Once your fit and confident with yourself start going to the pool and not wearing a shirt.

How To Increase Fitness To Cover Up Sunken Chest


If think this is the problem then try these;

1. Try to take really deep breaths and hold them in as long as you can and then breathe out until there is no more air in your lungs, keep doing this until you need to stop.

2. Blow up lots of balloons as slow as you can, this will make you need to breathe in lots of air and hold it for a long amount of time but don't strain yourself and not breathe otherwise you will most likely pass out

3. Start to do swimming or other water based sports. This will increase your lung capacity because you will have to hold your breath while under water. If you don't want to do these sports just submerge up to your neck and do exercise number one.

Sunken Chests can also make you look fat, you may look down and see a large fat stomach but actually its not. Its your eyes playing a trick on you. What your eyes see is a skinny chest, but this is where it is sunken and then you see the ribs. The sunken chest causes the bottom of your ribs to curve out or in other words flare out. After seeing the sunken chest then the flared ribs you see your stomach. Because your ribs are flared the skin has to cover them which makes the illusion that your fat when in fact your not

How can you get rid of it?

Well to get rid of it there is either surgery or other ways to get rid of it.

Other ways: Well there are many ways to get rid of the sunken chest without surgery but these wont get rid of them fully.

1. Do weights which will enhance your upper body muscles which will sort of cover your chest

2. Posture. Standing up straight will make your chest look less sunken.

3. Breathing, Refer to the other module for this one.

Remember if you feel dizzy or lightheaded or get pains in the chest stop immediately

Surgery: There is a procedure that can been done which is called the Nuss procedure.

The Nuss procedure is a minimally-invasive procedure, invented by Dr. Donald Nuss for treating pectus excavatum. The operation typically takes approximately two hours. Through two small incisions in the side of the chest, an introducer is pushed along posterior to the sternum and ribs, and anterior to the heart and lungs. Then a concave stainless steel bar is slipped under the sternum, through the incisions in the side of the chest. A third, smaller incision is made to insert a thoracoscope (small camera) used to help guide the bar. All bars may be placed through two incisions or additional incisions may be made. The bar is then flipped, and the sternum pops out. To support the bar and keep it in place a metal plate called a stabilizer may be inserted with the bar on one side of the torso.

Eventually, the bar is secured with muscle tissue that regrows during the recovery time. Although initially recommended only for younger patients, the Nuss procedure is now commonly used on patients in their thirties and forties with excellent results.

Postoperative evaluation indicates a significant improvement in pulmonary function studies and a high proportion of patients report improvements in well being and an increase in exercise tolerance.

Writing from Wikipedia and was last modified on 9 May 2011 at 22:59.

UPDATE: Last year I had the Nuss Procedure and it absolutely failed on me, I got overdosed on morphine and spewed for 4 days straight and I now have an intolerance for morphine,also the bar fell loose and I had to go in for another operation, after two months I sneezed for the first time I absolutely shattered my rib and the bar had to be taken out to stop my ribs from growing over the bar. I am now left with long term after effects such as scar pains and weird pains in my chest and ribs. I also had a friend who has this operation and he turned out fine, he was back to school in 7 weeks and is now living life as he used to.

Duel Debate

Is the nuss procedure good?


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    • profile image

      atnat14 3 years ago

      thanks for the useful info! my name is Nathan and im 14 years old. I have it. never really knew what it was called until now even though the doctors have looked at it soooo many times. I have already been embracing it because I know that people are going to end up seeing it one way or another.

      but yeah I did go through the phase when it came time to dress out in P.E. I hated showing it but now I can show anybody and they are amazed/ a little creeped out by it. I get questions like ahhh what is that? which is usually the first but after that one the questions turn into can you drink out of it? and can we eat food off it? so when it comes to confidence and social matters I think im ok.

      but what im really looking for are the scientific facts. why is it there in the first place? how did it get there? I want to know more about my disorder. Also, what does pectus excavaum affect in my body besides my heart that's already been pushed to my left side all the way?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Any ideas how to cover up your chest so that cloths look right? that's what I hate the most.

    • profile image

      lewis92 5 years ago

      Thanks man, helps a lot, i have this pectus excavatum but mine is caused from my spine curving. I hate it, but with a few of these tricks i can impress my mates. And has anyone had the nuss operation? is it recomened for 14 year olds who are still growing fast?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have it,and I still can't embrace it.I wish I had your confidence.Great lens!

    • profile image

      barsinks3 6 years ago

      Good lens of bar sinks, Each and

      every point is good enough. Thanks for sharing with us your wisdom of bar


    • elyria profile image

      elyria 6 years ago

      Very informative and helpful lens! I didn't know about sunken chest before.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 6 years ago

      Nice that your are trying to help others with this information. Keep up the good work.

    • kislanyk profile image

      Marika 6 years ago from Cyprus

      Wow this looks like something scary. Thanks for this lens, it has opened my eyes to something new that I had no clue about.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I never knew about this before, this has been interesting and informative. Thank you!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this with us. Very informative.

    • Ownage1808 profile image

      Ownage1808 6 years ago

      I never knew people would take interest in these things.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I think it's terrific that a teenager can share his condition without embarrassment. You sound like you have a lot of self-confidence. Good for you. Welcome to Squidoo and thanks for sharing.

    • dogface lm profile image

      dogface lm 6 years ago

      Wow, this is the very first time I hear about this interesting topic. Great job and thanks for sharing. :)

    • StudioElysee profile image

      StudioElysee 6 years ago

      I had never heard of this either. Very informative lens. Keep it up!

    • profile image

      hamshi5433 6 years ago

      damm this is some serious condition..I have neever seen any one with this condition..thanx for sharing the useful info

    • Ownage1808 profile image

      Ownage1808 6 years ago

      @brando87: Nice one with the volleyball, I have to say I have used it as a ball as well

    • brando87 profile image

      brando87 6 years ago

      I used to get embarrassed about mine when I was about your age, but I made it into my thing. I used to play volleyball, so if a ball every hit me in the chest I'd pretend they hit me so hard that if caved in my chest.

      One summer we used it as a bowl and ate cereal out of it.

      You're very right in saying that you're better off not trying to hide it. Embraced your uniqueness. It hasn't stopped me from doing anything. Granted, mine is not severe, but it's most definitely there.

    • MelissaRodgz profile image

      MelissaRodgz 6 years ago

      Wow I have never heaerd of this. It's great that you are showing others how to live confidently. This is not something anyone should be ashamed off. You have a great attitude.

    • Ownage1808 profile image

      Ownage1808 6 years ago


    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 6 years ago from Albany New York

      Wonderful lens, very informative.

      I never heard of this before.

      Your attitude sounds great!