Open Heart Surgery Scar For Women – Jenny’s Picture Request

Jenny must be tired of seeing my scar sprinkled throughout this website. She asks, “Adam – Do you have any pictures of incision scars for women who have had open heart surgery? I’m getting ready for open heart surgery and would like to see what my chest scar might look like.”

Well, I do have three pictures of women which show an open heart surgery scar at different stages of the recovery. The picture below shows a woman still in the hospital (shortly after surgery).

The next picture shows a lady who appears to be fully recovered. You need to look real close to see the incision scar which is no longer red (as shown above) but white. Yes, this picture is a little artsy but it does a good job showing just how well the skin can heal.

Finally, here is a picture of Mary Billings. I met Mary on my honeymoon in Fiji. She was working at the hotel that Robyn (my wife) and I were staying at. After speaking with Mary, we quickly learned that we both shared a unique commonality – heart valve surgery.

I hope that helps show what an open heart surgery scar looks like for a woman. If you have any pictures that you would like to add to this blog, please leave a response.

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

  • Elaine


    I have a few that were taken about a month post surgery. I’d be happy to share.

  • Dorothy Walton

    I still have a little swelling on the left side.
    And now I have a little infection on my right leg where the vein was removed.
    I am taking an anti-biotic and have some ointment for a few days.
    Has anyone use CoCoa Butter on the Scar.

  • s-d


    You are doing a wonderful job – by providing pictures.

    I am about to marry a woman who has had open heart surgery. I was reconsidering my decision.

    Wondered how she looked without her tops.

    Thank you for the pictures. I am now fairly clear.

    I think my illusions are lost after seeing the pictures.

    Hope you add more pictures across different races to make things more clearer.

    We live in India where getting such pictures is a real damn difficult think (particularly topless pictuers) – those give much more clarity rather those that have been taken with shirts on.


    Many warm regards.

    s- d.

  • jessicadavis

    I just wanted to say Thank you for including some pictures of the women that have open heart surgery scars. I am 26 about to have surgery in a couple days they arent doing heart surgery but removing a tumor from my thymus and this is the only way they can get to it, I was very nervous about having such a big surgery and ugly scar afterwards but your website has helped tremendously thank you again.

  • Denise

    I had my open heart surgery 1 year ago and my scar developed KELOID. So, is there any type of laser surgery to remove the scar?


    Had surgery in April, mitral valve replacement (new bovine one!). My scar is fading (Burt’s Bees ResQ Ointment) works pretty well. Had a huge lump (we called it “The Alien” but also had some physical therapy and therapist used massage to help diminish it a lot. As soon as it’s not too sensitive, you can try it on your own. I used to also massage it to further add to the therapy. I’m resigned that I’ll always have a small lump there but it’s my ‘new birthday reminder’. If I didn’t have it, I’d probably not be here to complain about it!

    Everybody take heart (literally!). I was able to drive (with surgeon’s approval) in 2 weeks and was back doing everything I did before (but without running out of breath & energy) within a month. By the way, my original b’day is 1936, I’m 63.

    Also suggest you work on your own head approaching surgery, loved Peggy Huddleston’s book & CD. I’m convinced it helped me a lot!

  • Gretchen

    I just want to thank you for this website. It is so helpful in making something that seems so huge and scary a lot less so.

    Also, I’d like to thank fellow commenter Pat Harris for her comment. Pat, I am 32 and having mitral valve replacement surgery this coming Thursday and just your small amount of testimony there has helped me immensely. Your strength and courage is giving me strength and courage. Thank you so much.


  • Roz Cryer

    It made me feel rather tearful seeing three young woman with an open heart surgery scar. At the beginning of March this year I found out I had/have a congenital heart condition (two fistulae disrupting coronary blood flow) that needed to be corrected in combination with a bypass. Not a heart valve issue but still rather blumin scary. I’m not that young actually… 45… but it is still rather young for a woman who saw herself in the prime of her life and flashed her cleavage rather a lot. I now have a 21cm scar running from my clavicles to below my breasts. Really working hard on learning how to feel like a desirable woman again. Thank you for this blog

  • noname

    I get so sad about my scar… I wish all the time that I was normal could wear normal girl clothes but everything I buy depends on my scar or I wear some huge necklace to cover it I hate it I want it gone but I dont think its possible.. I considered tattoo or breast implants to draw attention away from the scar…. just sux.

  • RJ

    A tip that might help with the scarring and pain. I too am very self conscous and concerned about the healing of my scare of three months. It has raised in the last few weeks that I began sleeping on my side and once again I am experiencing discomfort and pain. If you have to sleep on your side wait until your incision has completely healed and brace yourself with a firm small pillow, not a bed pillow. What I did to address my issues: First of all I will go back to sleeping on my back and secondly and just as important, last year my plastic surgeon said to purhase a scar jel sold in drug stores containing 12% silicone (can’t remember the name – ask pharmasist). It is the same silicone that makeup primer is made of. Sephora also sells this product that is pure and works very well. I used this for 6 months and by the end of the 1st year all scars had shrank in width, turned white and had flattened out. This product is clear and can go under makeup containing sunscreen or apply sunscreen over the scar jel afte it dries. Apply a thin coating morning and night. Remember your muscle and skin composition are not the same as before. There is alot of healing that needs to take place. For the first year to help healing be sure your scar and chest are not exposed to the sun directly.

    Retail stores sell nylon dickies that attach to your bra that works very well with your lower cut tops and blouses. Also, the only place I could find higher neck colored tee shirts that were shaped for women was at Walmart.

    Hope this was helpful.

  • Mia

    Hi Adam

    I am a 43 year o,d women who has had a aortic valve replacement 3 months ago. I wanted to share what I have been using to reduce my scar. It is a silicone gel called Dermatix, which I use morning and night. It has dramatically reduced my scar after only 1 month of using it, I would highly recommend it.
    Inhope this helps other open heart surgery patients as I could not get any direct answers when I asked any of the surgeons, cardiologists or nurses.

    Mia 🙂 x

  • Adriana

    Hi!! thanks for this blog it help me a lot..l had open heart surgery about a month ago to remove a blood clog l was looking and searching a lot for a blog like this one, l wanted to know how my scar would look like in the future
    thanks for sharing…
    btw…l can send pics of mine so others can see it too

  • Lisa

    I had open heart surgery at 23. I was self couscous about the scar, but now I realize it saved my life. It no linger bothers me at all.

  • Lois Nyawira

    Thank you all for snaring your experiences on this blog. Im a 52year old woman from Kenya. I had an open heart surgery to remove a tumor (a myxoma) which was on the left atrium of my heart. This was done in my home country Kenya on 10th July 2014, just under a month ago. I have been paying attention to reduction of chest pain especially when going to bed! The issue of the scar has not disturbed me, but I guess it will when I go back to work and have to wear low neck tops. Thanks for your advice about using a silicon gel, but I’m not sure of getting it in Kenya.

  • Lois Nyawira

    Thank you for this page. I’m 52years old. I’d an open heart surgery to remove a tumor (Myxoma ) 3weeks ago in my home country Kenya. I hope the silicon gel is available in Nairobi where I live.

  • Susan Winkles

    Hello. I am 35 years old. I had open heart surgery when I was 9 yrs old. I was born with VSD. My scar has never bothered me. If it wasn’t for the scar then I would have died about 20 yrs ago. I am sure the operation is much different than it was in the ’90s. My only complication is arthritis that has set up in my sternum. Its hurts sometimes and its much worse when I get sick and cough a lot.

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