“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.

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.

  • 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!

  • JanMan

    Make sure it’s not a pocket or tunnel in the incision the reason it is still draining. I had trible bypass in Dec 2015 and March 2016 was read mitten because a pocket had formed in my incision and burst open.

  • Sam Brar

    I’m going in for surgery at the beginning of July 2016. I’m a bit worried about recovery time and how long it will be before I can drive – I was told 5 to 6 weeks. My keyloid scar is painful and tender to the touch and my operation to remove 3 clots from the pulmonary artery was done 14 years ago. This is going to sound silly but where are the wires around the sternum? Don’t they fuse into the bone? I know healing time is different for everyone but what have been your experiences?

  • Joanne Hewitt

    Hi Sam. I just had open heart surgery June 24th this year. It’s been 5 weeks. I was told not to drive until 2 months. Def won’t drive yet. Still too stiff. I don’t notice the wires at all. Maybe it’s too early?? The wires are in the middle where the cut open. The sternum is cartilage and not bone, so it heals different and takes way longer. My surgeon didn’t use staples to stitch me up, so my scar is a very fine line. I’m starting to get a better range of motion, but still can’t put on shirts over my head of use my arms for lifting of pulling. I’m a 40 yr old woman in extremely great shape. Worked out 6 days a week hard prior to surgery. Able to walk 3 km on flat surface no problem already

  • Maria del Pilar

    I’m almost 6 months out of my OHS and i’mhaving trouble with my wires. Surgeon said he will have to remove them, but he’l wait till febraury- a year from the original surgery. 4 out of the 5 wires I’ve got are protruding and causing pain and constant discomfort!!! My surgeon told me he had to remove them very few times in his career, allways thin women as is my case(i’m a 33 year old woman, weithing 48kgs)!!!! So for the time being i can only take pain killers and wait……my scar has healed perfectly……
    (sorry if there are any mistakes in my writing, I’m
    from Argentina)

  • Carol Navin

    Can someone get back to me regarding the healing processs after the removal of wires. I am considering it with caution. All the work i do requires lifting. I am 9 months preop BAV. and all is good except surgeons office beleives any pain is now coming from the wires being too close to the surface. I dont relish the ithought of anothr surgery with 4 or more weeks of pain and not lifting. I hear its a 20 to 30 minute procedure and i can go homE the same day. IT IS STILL GOING UNDER, AND A TRAUMA TO THE BODY. SURGERY IS SURGERY.


  • Carol Navin

    Is there any chance that the wires will naturally calm down and the body will stop hurting just by assimilating to the foreign substance.? Please say yes.

  • ロクサン ヨシコ ミユキ

    same here, i am Filipina and got aortic replacement last June 2016 here in Japan. I am tired to think on how to cure my keloids specially it hurts when I stretch my chest. I need an advise too. thank you

  • Tobz4uhuni

    Physical therapist can give you little things strips for it. They gave new some. Just ask.

Have A Question? Call Us at (888) 725-4311

P.O. Box 4049
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Phone: (888) 725-4311