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Doctor insights on: How Long After Open Heart Surgery Does It Take The Sternum To Heal Completely

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Dr. Frederick Tibayan
358 Doctors shared insights

Heart Surgery (Definition)

Open intervention on the heart to correct congenital cardiac anomalies, repair replace heart valves, ascending aortic dissection repair, coronary bypass, heart transplant, surgical removal of heart tumors, ventricular assist devices, cox maze procedures to cure atrial fibrillation, repair of trauma to the heart. Repair of iatrogenic injuries to heart, heart-lung ...Read more


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How long does it take for ones chest to heal from open heart surgery? And how long does it take to fully recover?

How long does it take for ones chest to heal from open heart surgery? And how long does it take to fully recover?

Variable: It generally takes a year to fully recover after open heart surgery, though the wounds will be healed after a couple of weeks. ...Read more

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Does the sternum fuse together after open heart surgery and how long does it take?

Does the sternum fuse together after open heart surgery and how long does it take?

Yes, like bone fract: The sternum is a bone & heals like any other bone. It is "fractured" (cut) at the start of open heart surgery. At the end of surgery, the sternum is usually "sewn up" using metal wires to hold the 2 parts together. Further bone healing (fusion) occurs over the course of 3-6 months (eg, as with a broken arm). Wires hold the sternum together in that time & fuse with bone as it heals. Ask surgeon. ...Read more

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How long does it take for the breastbone to fuse after an open-heart surgery?

How long does it take for the breastbone to fuse after an open-heart surgery?

6-8 weeks: The sternum heals like any broken bone in your body, taking 6-8 weeks to fully heal. ...Read more

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Would you still have numbness in the sternum area ten months after open heart surgery?

Would you still have numbness in the sternum area ten months after open heart surgery?

Possibly: Scar tissue stays numb. Particularly if an artery in your chest (the left internal mammary artery) was harvested as part of your surgery, you can expect numbness for many months. ...Read more

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After open heart surgery what are some challanges people usually face with a broken sternum? I just want to know what to expect

After open heart surgery what are some challanges people usually face with a broken sternum? I just want to know what to expect

Limit use of arms: There is so much you do with your arms without thinking. You push off with hands on thighs to stand. You use arms to adjust yourself in chair or bed. All of this puts pressure on sternum. I limit patients to 10 lb 6 wks then 25 lb for another 6 weeks. And no pushing or pulling for 3 months. Coughing and sneezing can be uncomfortable also. ...Read more

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After open heart surgery I want to punch my heavy bag for excercise. I know it will put a lot of pressure on my sternum. It has been twenty weeks?

After open heart surgery I want to punch my heavy bag for excercise. I know it will put a lot of pressure on my sternum. It has been twenty weeks?

OK: Your sternum has healed to almost full strength. You can start a punching bag routine. You will probably develop some chest wall or muscle pain as you start the exercise - because you haven't used your muscles to this extent since the operation. Listen to your body and start gradually and workup to the level that you performed prior to surgery. ...Read more

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Hi I'm getting open heart surgery in 2 months I'm wondering if there is anyway they won't have to break my sternum? Will I lose muscle after surgery?

Hi I'm getting open heart surgery in 2 months I'm wondering if there is anyway they won't have to break my sternum? Will I lose muscle after surgery?

Yes depends on type: For instance mitral valve repair, atrial septal defect repair can be performed via small incision on the right side of chest and aortic valve replacement can be performed via small incision at the top of the chest. ...Read more

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My mom had open heart surgery in may but continues to have pain all around the area and the doctors say it's her sternum is it possible?

My mom had open heart surgery in may but continues to have pain all around the area and the doctors say it's her sternum is it possible?

Chest pain: Absolutely. The sternum was cut opened and it is likely going to remain tender and sore for sometime. Your mother should follow her surgeon's recommendations and rest assured it is normal. ...Read more

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When a breastbone is cracked open during open heart surgery, does it ever grow back together?

When a breastbone is cracked open during open heart surgery, does it ever grow back together?

Yes: Like any broken bone, the sternum can heal. It can also fail to heal, leaving one with a mobile chest wall. That is, fortunately, a lot less likely. ...Read more

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Chest pain that started the night my dad had open heart surgery. I had stress tests and everything says I'm fine. Still have chest pain. Just anxiety?

Chest pain that started the night my dad had open heart surgery. I had stress tests and everything says I'm fine. Still have chest pain. Just anxiety?

Most likely: Chest pain in a 23 year old is very unusual for it to be the real thing -- i.e. Coronary artery disease from cholesterol build-up. Probably is anxiety as u know your dad had CABG. BUT if you are diabetic and/or known obesity and/or excess LDL, then chest pain can be real. BUT if you are healthy, young, fit individual without major risk factors then ought not to be coronary artery disease. ...Read more

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I had open heart surgery now having sharp pains in the chest what could be the problem?

I had open heart surgery now having sharp pains in the chest what could be the problem?

Incision: Usually sharp pain after a sternotomy is incisional. You might have pulled something if you were overexerting yourself. If pain meds don't make it improve then make appointment to see your surgeon. ...Read more

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39 years ago I had open heart surgery at the age of 3. Ever since, I have lived with the sensation that my chest will tear apart. Its getting worse.

39 years ago I had open heart surgery at the age of 3. Ever since, I have lived with the sensation that my chest will tear apart. Its getting worse.

Unlikely: What was done?
Cured?
Or may need additional work.
Good choices:
no smoking
weight control.
Get checked by thoracic surgeon for any instability of bone - sternum.
At 39 years should be solid bone unless there was an infection or fibrous non- union and fluid. ...Read more

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I had a open heart surgery about a year ago becuz I had a heart murmur. Since then, I sometimes feel pain from my chest and heart, it occur when I walk and lay on my front for awhile. It's that normal?

I had a open heart surgery about a year ago becuz I had a heart murmur. Since then, I sometimes feel pain from my chest and heart, it occur when I walk and lay on my front for awhile. It's that normal?

Get evaluated: One year later, chest pain with exercise should be evaluated. This could be angina. Your age makes it less likely there is coronary artery disease, however you should get testing. Go see a cardiologist. Ask for stress testing or angiogram of your coronary vessels. Be well. ...Read more

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Dad had coronary stents and now he has severe chest pain and dyspnea his cardiac contractility function is 32 % is he in need of open heart surgery?

Ask docs: Sounds like you want to check with his cardiologist. I would also advise to see a second opinion cardiologist to feel comfortable about decisions. ...Read more

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Can you die from CHF I have it real bad my chest stays hurting and I'm swollen all over I have type 2 Diabetes and my father he done had 5 heart attacks he got the same thing and he had open heart surgery and they had to put stints in his heart valves and

Can you die from CHF I have it real bad my chest stays hurting and I'm swollen all over I have type 2 Diabetes and my father he done had 5 heart attacks he got the same thing and he had open heart surgery and they had to put stints in his heart valves and

Yes: Unfortunately, heart failure is very serious and progression is life threatening. There have been great strides in improving outcomes, but any effective treatment relies on patients learning about the disease and knowing how to respond to symptoms, how to effectively manage fluids, and how to make heart healthy lifestyle decisions. If the chest pain is new, head to the ED tonight. ...Read more

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I recently had open heart surgery to correct endocarditis effects. Now I am suffering from chest pain and cold sweats during exercise. Is this normal?

I recently had open heart surgery to correct endocarditis effects. Now I am suffering from chest pain and cold sweats during exercise. Is this normal?

Exercise: No it is not normal.
You need to see the surgeon as soon as possible.
It might be wise to go today to the nearest Emergency Facility to make sure that things are OK for now while waiting for a doctor's appointment. ...Read more

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Why are the following tests done preoperatively for open heart surgery? Echo...chest X-ray.....pfts.....and urinalysis?

Why are the following tests done preoperatively for open heart surgery? Echo...chest X-ray.....pfts.....and urinalysis?

Preparation: You are having surgery for a reason. Preparation makes the surgery safer by finding issues that would be problems if they were not known. Overall, the better prepared you and you surgeon are, the better the results. ...Read more

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Open Heart Surgery (Definition)

Not an easy answer. Open heart surgery describes surgical intervention under direct vision involving entering a heart chamber or coronary artery. Percutaneous interventions do not ...Read more