Mended Hearts Open Forum

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Breastbone healing

  • 1.  Breastbone healing

    Posted 03-20-2019 22:48
    Hi there, I was hoping someone with experience can help me with my question/concern.

    I have had 6 open heart surgerys as a child but I dont really remember the healing period because I was so young. I am 33 years old now and just about 4 weeks ago I had open heart surgery. My question / concern is the healing of the breast bone. When I lay down or recline in my chair i can feel my breastbone shifting around. It does not hurt but it feels weird and uncomfortable.  Is this normal?


    Jennifer F

  • 2.  RE: Breastbone healing

    Posted 03-21-2019 09:31
    welcome to the group. You certainly have had your share. As far as your breastbone healing, I can tell you that it seems to occur in stages. Because you can feel it shifting, I would be cautious in putting undue pressure on it, be it the way you lie, lift etc.  You should still use a pillow for support. I know on rainy days or when the weather was changing, you could feel the effects.

    In any case, I strongly urge you to discuss that with your doctor.

    Continued healing and good health to you.

    Annette Smith

    annette smith
    saxonburg PA

  • 3.  RE: Breastbone healing

    Posted 03-21-2019 15:45
    Hi Annette -

    You started much younger than I did with your open heart surgeries, but in the last 15 years I have had my chest opened up three (3) times.  The first time was on 10/31/03 & I had a double by pass of the widow maker.  The second time was on 12/9/03 - about 5 wks. later (first one failed completely).  I had many problems with the 2nd one (punctured aorta & almost bled out, stents, etc.), but pulled through. I have had about 8 stents put in since that time, but again on 2/6/13 I had my 3rd open heart with 2 by-passes & a aortic valve replacement (pig valve).  So far so good!!

    I found after my first by-pass, that being a side sleeper & I couldn't sleep that way anymore (at least for the 1st six or eight weeks)  & I had someone pick up a wedge pillow & I was able to sleep on my back without any problem.  You might try that - it lifts you up about 8 or 10" & helps with the breathing.  It also helps keep your arms from falling back & putting pressure on the incision in your chest.

    It's now been 6 years since my 3rd surgery, and being very close to 81 yrs. old, I'm still going strong.  I volunteer with about 5 organizations in the church & the town where I live.  I tire easily & sleep about 9 hours every night, but when I am up and about I generally feel pretty good.  I intend to keep on keepin on for as long as I can & I hope you do to. I know that you are much younger than I am, but life is worth living, so keep it up.  Good Luck!

    Mary Jo Hopkins
    Hobart, IN

    Mary Hopkins
    Hobart IN
    (219) 942-1464

  • 4.  RE: Breastbone healing

    Posted 03-21-2019 16:02
    You are amazing in my book. Keep in truckin'. Continue to improve.


    Sent from my iPhone

  • 5.  RE: Breastbone healing

    Posted 03-22-2019 00:58
    Hello Jennifer,
    As you have read from these great ladies it is normal for it to take time to heal. Yes mention it to your provider, and yes be careful lifting things and do not overdo it too soon. I was about 3 months post op before I could lift much weight and about a year before I could sleep on my stomach or side. It will be 5 years 24 March since my 4X CABG and my sternum still has tender areas. 
    Hang in there, you will be doing your normal routine soon.

    Richard Short
    Chapter 395

  • 6.  RE: Breastbone healing

    Posted 03-23-2019 08:05
    First, I would left my doctor know about the movement you are feeling. I am over 12 years out from bypass surgery and it takes time for the breastbone to heal. I don’t recall any movement feeling but a lot of soreness and discomfort.
    I have told many people it will take up to a year before the chest feels normal again. As mentioned from others avoid lifting and straining in any way. Broken bones take time to heal. Things will be better. Best wishes for a good and speedy recovery.
    Tommy Broughton
    Chapter 28

    Sent from my iPad

  • 7.  RE: Breastbone healing

    Posted 03-23-2019 13:27
    Thanks all! I saw my surgeon a couple days ago and my breastbone is solid. No problems there. What I am feeling is just inflammation in my muscles and the doctor recommended ibuprofen 400mg every 4 hours.  This has worked very well for me. I even got the ok to start driving and do more of my normal daily activities. So all is well and thank you all for your responses to my original post.

    Thanks again,
    Jennifer F