What is pectus excavatum? Joel Kinnaman had metal bars inserted into chest to correct deformity

What is pectus excavatum? Joel Kinnaman had metal bars inserted into chest to correct deformity
Actor Joel Kinnaman arrives at the premiere of Columbia Pictures' 'Robocop' at TCL Chinese Theatre on February 10, 2014 in Hollywood, California (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

'Suicide Squad' actor Joel Kinnaman made headlines on Friday, August 6, after Swedish model Gabriella Magnusson posted screenshots of chats with the actor on Instagram, accusing him of rape, and said, "He know I have too much evidence on him so he just put up lies."

The Instagram posts were uploaded hours after it was reported Kinnaman was granted a restraining order against Magnusson. Along with that, he also shared an elaborate post on Instagram detailing the alleged harassment by Magnusson. The actor claims to have had a "brief romantic relationship" with Magnusson in late 2018. He claims Magnusson started threatening him with false accusations of non-consensual sex unless he gave in to her demands of money and Hollywood connections. 


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The sudden limelight on the actor's personal life also made fans curious about other facets of his life - for example, the time he got metal bars inserted into his chest because he wanted to correct the physical deformity he was born with, called pectus excavatum. It is a chest-wall deformity that affects roughly one in 400 and basically involved the breastbone sinking in, instead of being flushed against the chest. 


According to Esquire, the condition is measured on something called the Haller index, and anything above an index of 3.2 is considered severe. Kinnaman’s index was reportedly a seven or an eight. “It’s something that’s survivable,” Kinnaman explained to the outlet in a 2019 profile. “But it’s a condition that grows worse over time: your posture becomes worse; your stamina worsens as your heart is not given room to pump. By correcting it you can add years to your life.”

What is pectus excavatum?

According to Mayo Clinic, "Pectus excavatum is a condition in which a person's breastbone is sunken into his or her chest. In severe cases, pectus excavatum can look as if the center of the chest has been scooped out, leaving a deep dent. While the sunken breastbone is often noticeable shortly after birth, the severity of pectus excavatum typically worsens during the adolescent growth spurt." The exact cause of pectus excavatum is not known. However, it may be an inherited condition because it sometimes runs in families.

It is also commonly known as funnel chest and occurs more in boys than in girls. While a severe case of this condition can interfere with the function of the heart and lungs, even mild cases of pectus excavatum can make individuals feel self-conscious about their appearance. The deformity can be corrected through surgery. Symptoms of severe cases of pectus excavatum may include, decreased exercise tolerance, rapid heartbeat or heart palpitations, recurrent respiratory infections, wheezing or coughing, chest pain, heart murmur, fatigue and dizziness. 

How did Joel Kinnaman get rid of pectus excavatum?


The actor who is famed for his roles in movies such as 'RoboCop', 'Altered Carbon', 'House of Cards' and 'For All Mankind' opened up about his surgery to correct his condition during an appearance on the Norwegian-Swedish talk show Skavlan in 2018. 

While promoting his Netflix show 'Altered Carbon,' Kinnaman talked about how for much of his life he was embarrassed to take off his shirt because of his medical condition. He said that pectus excavatum he had was so severe that his chest was starting to press against his heart. This made it difficult for him to exercise too much or even get over-exerted. That was when he learned about a surgery that could be done to cure the condition. 

During the surgery, Kinnaman’s chest had two metal bars inserted into it, placed through the ribs, in such a way that they pushed his chest out. In order to make sure they stayed in place, they were affixed to his ribs. The surgery took place in 2015 and for three years, at that point, the bars were kept in place. “It’s real life Robocop!” said Kinnaman. Shortly after going through the surgery, he landed the role of 'Altered Carbon.' “So, I was like 'Rock and Roll',” he added, laughing and slamming his fist. 

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