Teen born with a pigeon chest finally stands inch taller

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A teenager from Hemel Hempstead born with a rare condition known as 'pigeon chest' is now standing taller than his twin brother after undergoing an innovative new treatment to correct the condition.

James Jack Stark has pectus carinatum, a deformity of the sternum and rib cartilage that causes the chest to protrude outwards, giving it a bowed-out appearance similar to that of a pigeon.

Credit: PA

Last year the 14-year-old was two inches shorter than his twin, Harry, but after undergoing a new technique to treat it, he now stands a whole inch taller than him at 5ft 5in.

Credit: PA

The deformity is often seen at birth but is more noticeable as the child gets older, during growth spurts when the ribcage has grown and protruded further.

The most common symptom is pain, but it can also often lead to harmful psychological effects such as low confidence and self esteem.

James Jack used to hate the way his body looked so much that he threatened to smash his chest with a hammer, but his mother, Jacquie Stark, said that since having the treatment, he now "walks with a swagger" and hopes to join the armed forces one day.

Credit: PA

He was treated at Spire St Anthony's Hospital in North Cheam, Surrey, where consultant thoracic surgeon Ian Hunt and his colleague Joe Porcello have developed a new, non-surgical technique that involves a combination of treatments.

The non-identical twin, whose loves include being a cadet and playing computer games, said he was delighted to look "normal" straight away.

James's mother said:

Between one and three in every 1,000 people have a pectus anomaly, which are more common in males.