By Andy Marso, Kansas City Star

Dustin Lurvey is feeling pretty good for a guy with a steel bar inside him, pushing out his ribcage.

Before he had the bar surgically inserted a month ago, Lurvey lived 38 years with a dent in the middle of his chest that formed a funnel shape with the surrounding pectoral muscles. His sternum pressed against his inner organs, and when he exercised he struggled to breathe and could watch his heart beat through his skin.

Lurvey’s midsection is still tender from the surgery, and the bar will stay in for at least two years as his ribs, muscles and cartilage conform to their new shape. But his chest is now flat, and to Lurvey, that’s worth it.

“I’m doing better than I ever have,” he said.

The surgery is called the Nuss procedure, and it’s usually done on children and teenagers. If Lurvey’s continues to be a success, it will open up a new world of comfortable breathing and shirtless confidence for other adults like him.

It will also open up a new market for Corey Iqbal, the pediatric surgeon who performed it at the Overland Park Regional Medical Center.

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