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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. Irv Loh
Board Certified, Cardiology
43 years in practice
714K people helped
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Dr. William Forsythe
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Dr. Frederick Tibayan
339 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


Dr. Craig Carter
Board Certified, Thoracic Surgery
34 years in practice
939K people helped
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Dr. William Forsythe
Board Certified
21 years in practice
169K people helped
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Dr. Robert Binford
Board Certified, Thoracic Surgery
32 years in practice
1M people helped
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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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Dr. Frederick Tibayan
Board Certified, Thoracic Surgery
17 years in practice
468K people helped
4

4
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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Dr. William Forsythe
Board Certified
21 years in practice
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Dr. Francis Kempf
Board Certified, Cardiology
66K people helped
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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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Dr. Divyakant Gandhi
Board Certified, Thoracic Surgery
39 years in practice
3K people helped
6

6
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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Dr. Edwin Ishoo
Board Certified, ENT and Head and Neck Surgery
22 years in practice
2M people helped
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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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Dr. Jon Spiers
Board Certified, Thoracic Surgery
25 years in practice
345K people helped
8

8
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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Dr. Gregory Hines
Board Certified, Family Medicine
18 years in practice
28M people helped
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Dr. Frederick Tibayan
Board Certified, Thoracic Surgery
17 years in practice
468K people helped
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10
How long should it take to get over open heart surgery with a staph infection?

How long should it take to get over open heart surgery with a staph infection?

Varies: Depends on the site of infection (mediastinum, sternum, superficial soft tissue, vein harvest site, central line, lung, bladder, etc), immunosuppression, nutrition, and treatment. ...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


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Dr. William Forsythe
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