Salford University student Gavin Port has been getting back to normal life after having major surgery. 

Gavin, 19, was born with a condition called pectus excavatum, or ‘sunken chest’, which means his breastbone was pressed inwards causing a dip between his ribs.

This deformity can cause major pain, as the bone can press into internal organs such as the lungs or heart. It can also prohibit sufferers’ ability to breathe and exercise.

The Salford student said: “I was in pain pretty much all the time. It made me miss out on quite a lot of stuff with my friends, like holidays and festivals.”

Gavin has been slowly getting into university life after his surgery in September
Image credits: Anna Evans. Gavin has been slowly getting into university life after his surgery in September

In September he underwent major surgery called the Nuss procedure at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull. 

This procedure, which takes around two hours, entails one to three curved metal bars being inserted behind the sternum, forcing the breastbone into a normal position. The bar is usually left in the body for three years, and the surgery significantly improves quality of life and often improves cardiac performance.

Nuss x-ray
Image credits: Stepshep [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Pectus excavatum affects around 1 in 400 people and is three times more common in men. It can also cause scoliosis, which affects 1 in 10 people. It also commonly causes insecurities and is linked to body confidence issues, due to the appearance of a sunken chest. 



Gavin has returned to his second year of university to study Business with Economics and is doing very well post operation, saying : “I’m really happy to be back at university and finally be independent.”

To find out more about Pectus Excavatum or the Nuss Procedure go to

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