Posted on August 14th, 2007 under Patient Stories & Updates.
In prior posts and discussion, I have called open heart surgery a medical miracle. The fact that a surgeon can open you, stop your heart, fix it, start it again and then stitch you up is, in my opinion, AMAZING!!
However, as a patient, I remember an immense amount of fear related to the “miracle”. My concern was not related to the success of the operation or my own mortality (click here to see why).
Instead, one of my biggest concerns was the “cracking of my sternum”. As an athlete, I had broken bones before. However, the central and sensitive nature of the chest did make think twice (if not a hundred) times as I headed into my operation. I was just very curious to know what the sternum fracture healing process would be like.
That said, I thought you all might like to see an xray of sternum before and after open heart surgery involving a cracked chest (aka median sternotomy). The first sternum xray is provided below. As you can see the chest plate is smooth and clear of any fracture.
Xray Of Sternum Before Open Heart Surgery
Next, let’s look at an xray of sternum after heart valve surgery.
As you can see, after surgery the incision is closed by placing stainless steel wires through or around the sternum The wire ends are then twisted together to close the incision.
Following surgery, the sternum fracture healing process can be quite painful. Personally, I would say that was one of the most challenging elements of heart valve surgery. There are definitely some “dos” and “do nots” when is comes to aiding the sternum fracture healing process.
Keep on tickin!