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Seth remembers a time when he would go to the pool and everyone would stare. The 6 ft. tall basketball player was born with a common chest deformity called pectus excavatum, in which the sternum caves inward, causing a sunken chest wall. By the time Seth was in junior high, his chest indent was 1.5 inches deep and 4-5 inches wide. He would get constant stares when his shirt was off, but just accepted this was the way he was. He didn’t think he could do anything to change it. Then one day, he met someone in Youth Group who said he had had the same condition until a doctor at the Alberta Children’s Hospital transformed him with a unique surgery. The surgery involves inserting a metal brace inside the patient’s chest to push out the chest wall.
Seth and his mom Laurel decided to look up this doctor – Dr. Steve Lopushinsky – and set up a meeting with him. They learned that not only can the condition affect body image, but, as was in Seth’s case, it can put pressure on the heart and lungs. Seth learned his chest wall was on his heart and his lung capacity was reduced. Suddenly Seth’s desire for the surgery was no longer just cosmetic.
In a four-hour surgery, on March 25 2013, and using donor-funded HD surgical cameras, Dr. Lopushinsky guided a stainless steel bar into Seth’s chest. Like magic, the brace, anchored against the chest wall, instantly pushed his chest out. Next month, on March 25, 2016, three years after getting his brace, doctors will remove it! With this chest out, Seth’s confidence is up, and perhaps most importantly, he now has a perfectly healthy heart.
Seth is grateful for the experts at the Alberta Children’s Hospital who changed his life by correcting his pectus excavatum with a unique surgery. He is sharing his story to help us buy the Surgical Chest Retractor power hour that would help Dr. Lopushinsky perform these operations with greater ease.