“Sensitive Keloid Scars? Sternal Wire Bumps?” Asks Josh

Josh has an interesting set of questions regarding keloid scars and sternal wires.

As you can read below, Josh is specifically looking for help from our blog readers. If you can help him, please leave a comment. Here is what Josh writes:

Hey Adam-

Things are going great 5 months after my aortic valve replacement and ascending aortic graft.  Most of the unpleasant sensations have subsided to a very manageable level. However, I do have an issue that I wanted to ask you and the blog members about…

I have two problem areas on my incision site that I saw my surgeon about today.  First, the bottom of my scar has a fairly large raised keloid (shown below) which is very sensitive to the touch.

Keloid Scar On Open Heart Surgery Incision Of Patient

Second, the top of my scar has a prominent bump that turns out to be part of the sternal wires that were used to fuse the bone that are sticking out.  Most of the time these wires are left in place, but my surgeon said they could do a removal.  He further added that if we were going to remove the wires, he’d have a plastic surgeon consult and help with the re-closure of the incision so as to try to avoid the keloid problem again.

Has anyone had any experiences with one or both of these issues?  My symptoms are not intolerable, but they are fairly uncomfortable.  I’m not looking forward to another surgery, but my understanding is that it’s a fairly simple outpatient procedure.

Thanks and hope all’s well,


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 HeartValveSurgery.com.

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  • Esther Flores

    I had heart surgery 3 months ago and I have the same problem.

  • Verita Lesar

    Hi Rosey the wires are a life long problem I believe….my scar feels more sensitive now than when I first came out of hospital..more so in the morning when getting out of bed…..where I cannot lie on my sides but on my back only…. :(

  • Verita Lesar

    I have discomfort when wearing my bra but brave it till its time to remove… If I could I would go without a bra….. all these complaints are so surreal… its everything I’m going through, glad to know I’m not alone….

  • guardian angel

    Hi linda I am praying for you hope it goes away

  • April

    I am 3 months out from my surgery, have a keloid very similar to yours, but i also have a raised hole at the top of my scar. The keloid is open as well. A few times a daw, I have to exprss the liquid from it, and sometimes a peice of filamint comes out. I am hoping this stops soon and these woulds close!

  • Mary Ann Spehar McGwin

    At 4 weeks you should be still “treating” your scar by washing with sterile water and covering. About that time is when I had my worst chest pain. I’ve had a lot of surgeries and accidents and it always amazed me how things seemed worse after 4 weeks. My rehab therapist explained that by that time the nerves are beginning to “wake up” again. He was right, after another month everything settled down. Remember this isn’t like surgery with just soft tissue involved. Bones heal at different rates and the sternum has lot of cartiledge which is slower healing. Wherever the took a artery, the nerves went with it, allowing for phantom pain at the removal site. Remember to keep doing your breathing exercises, your chest pain could be from needing to completely inflate your lungs back to normal capacity. I’m 6 months out and finally getting some stamina back. It amazes me to read all the glitches that come up a year or even two later. And while I’ll probably get a good 10years out of this surgery, its still 10 years of post menopausal life, sweating, losing my hair, being fat and old!

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