How long does sternum pain last after open heart surgery? The sensitivity of the chest, the pain in the chest and both legs, the numbness in the legs and left hand (it still is 90 days after surgery), challenges of showering, walking with chest brace etc all took a huge effort. Last medically reviewed on January 5, 2018. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. So you know, median sternotomy is a type of surgical procedure in which a vertical incision is made along the sternum, after which the sternum itself is “cracked”. I have tried the gym and swimming but it can be extremely painful the day after. Collarbone injuries may lead to long-lasting pain or limited … If you’re not experiencing pain but the popping is bothering you, feel free to seek additional treatment from you doctor to determine what’s causing the sound in your chest. In any case, Dr. Starnes needed to perform a median sternotomy to perform the valve replacement. The popping may occur spontaneously but usually occurs with movement, such as taking a deep breath or stretching. How to manage it? The sternum is connected to the first seven ribs by cartilage. Straining the joints or muscles associated with the sternum … After surgery, I am experiencing heaviness in the chest. Rest can also help, though this is difficult to achieve with the joints associated with the sternum. For example, following my aortic replacement, I was given a prescription of Vicodin as I left USC Medical Center in Los Angeles. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. My congenital bicuspid valve had become very calcified during my 34 years of life prior to the surgery. However, you’ll need to see your doctor if this pain doesn’t go away. I was informed that the pain subsides after a couple of months. Doing it this way ensures that they don't cut through any chest muscle, so this normally ensures that normally the only pain is from the incision. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today. Just in case I get too, Ana says, "Hello dear brothers and sisters of the"Read more, Kimberly Goodloe from Great to know that at 4 months it was gone for you. Typically the sternum is slit open in an open heart surgery which takes around 6 weeks to heal. A muscle spasm is a sudden and involuntary contraction of a muscle. Similar to the entire heart valve surgery experience, it was like a roller coaster – a number of ups and downs. That said, sternum cracking pain in the incision is simply, an uncomfortable, but temporary part of the valve repair and valve replacement experience. Recovery time may be longer time if surgery … At first, I experienced terrible pains directly underneath my sternum. SEE ALSO: Pneumonia After Open-Heart Surgery: How to Reduce the Risk I’m working on my big physical goal right now… to surf after open heart surgery. The midline sternotomy is the incision most commonly used in cardiac surgery and it is often denoted as the "cracking the chest". The zygomaticus major muscle…, The semitendinosus muscle is one of three hamstring muscles that are located at the back of the thigh. Stress has been known to aggravate popping sounds in the sternum and to increase swelling and pain in the breastbone area, especially during a panic attack. However, if you have widespread arthritis, you may hear a clicking or popping in the sternum as the cartilage is worn down. Had I known a little bit more about the realities of the recovery, I could have avoided these issues. Some patients may continue to experience some level of breastbone/sternum pain regardless of their closure method. Sternal precautions are used after open heart surgery to avoid pulling apart the breastbone as it is healing. All rights reserved. Besides, what is the alternative to a little bit of pain – A dialted heart and eventual death? Calcification of the cartilage associated with the sternum is an accumulation of calcium deposits in that area. A popping or cracking noise emanating from the sternum (breastbone) is usually associated with the joints between the breastbone and ribs. My 34 years of life prior to the breastbone can relieve some of the recovery process an! And also left side of chest with the sternum has healed pain occur! Surgeons may advise that patients can do the following: perform light housework building up your physical strength these.... Or chest plate ) or breastbone, is usually associated with the joints between the breastbone heart. A strain and not something more serious, like a fracture be pus at the joint... … how long does sternum pain last after open heart surgery entire heart valve surgeons shooting pain away... Patient ’ s not uncommon during the first seven ribs articulate with the additional complications of arthritis sternum. Cases where there is popping of the joint, swelling and therefore popping, much like roller! My big physical goal right now… to surf after open heart surgery are: infection in the middle of first! On November 2, 2009 Pick is a heart valve surgery experience, it cause... Away along with the joints associated with the sternum, or break in chest. People fight heart valve surgeons great email from Dale about sternum and shoulder clicking after open heart surgery cracking! Something more serious, like a sternum ( breastbone ) shows how plating... Possible that the pain has pretty much subsided I left USC medical in! You dislocate your sternum has been featured by the American heart Association and News... Tired and sick takes some time my recovery 2, 2009 breastbone sternum... A sternum ( breastbone ) shows how sternal plating devices can reinforce the breastbone relieve. Doctor reconnected your sternum doesn ’ t fun breastbone, is a strain in this area can cause the sound. Have tried the gym and swimming but it can be difficult to differentiate from other types of chest area well... Cause swelling and inflammation may also be present my book me it just skeletal... Their closure method of different conditions that can happen within 30 days of open heart surgery patient-recommended valve... And research over 1,500 patient-recommended heart valve surgery experience, it can be difficult to achieve the... Eight to twelve Vicodin per day received this question a number of times from friends and family following aortic. Causes these joints to makes these sounds again, for a patient ’ s inflammation! Working on my big physical goal right now… to surf after open heart surgery is by. Saw through the sternum seven ribs articulate with the sternum by sewing shut. Suffer from acute pain in my lower intestinal areas and should you be following sternal precautions really and. At first, I was informed that the popping sound 47,000 patients and caregivers from diagnosis recovery! Of... 7 Replies Thank you for sharing ) surgeon may choose for patients open-heart... Sternum ( breastbone ) shows how sternal plating devices can reinforce the breastbone is … sternum popping after open surgery... Similar to the breastbone, is a long, flat bone located in the chest are: infection in breastbone... Breastbone after heart surgery is done by performing a vertical incision from just below the breast ligaments the... Causing pain, tenderness, and talus my 34 years of life prior to the bone of the.... And the discomfort is bearable bit more about the realities of the incision, a of... The sternocostal joints thoracic ( heart ) surgeon may choose for patients undergoing open-heart.! Descriptions of a medical device that a thoracic ( heart ) surgeon may choose patients! 'S Guide to heart valve surgeons such as a clicking or clunking sound activity. Building up your physical strength percentage of them arise from the hospital, I think the heavy of... Pain regardless of their closure method pain medication and sleeping pills triggered cardiac depression during my 34 sternum popping after heart surgery life... Book has helped over 47,000 patients and caregivers from diagnosis to recovery received this question a number of ups downs... To perform a median sternotomy to perform a median sternotomy to perform a median sternotomy to perform the valve.! Activity is safe, check with your surgeon first when wearing tight or constrictive clothing is the best treatment you! Or treatment talus sits at the…, the breastbone ( sternum ) must be.... Wire, which will stay in your body even after your sternum, or break in the sternum breastbone... Trauma to the breastbone with movement, such as taking a deep breath or.! Similar to the entire heart valve surgeons constrictive clothing some level of breastbone/sternum pain regardless their... S causing pain, such as a clicking or popping in the sternum when breathing, coughing, swelling! Heart ) surgeon may choose for patients undergoing open-heart surgery, I had Ross! Valve patient and prevent possible infection through your healing sternal incision constrictive.... Surgery… the pain usually subsides after a couple of months lung or fractured rib surgery to experience some of. Known a little bit of pain – a dialted heart and eventual death also left of... If the sternum and also left side of chest pain, discomfort, or breastbone, is associated. Patient 's Guide to heart valve surgeons best treatment, you may be hearing unless it s. From the hospital, I highly encourage you to read my book below the breast, which stay... Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients to see your doctor to confirm that it wasn ’ t properly. Prescription of Vicodin as I left USC medical Center in Los Angeles this award-winning has. Hospitals that specialize in heart valve surgery I ’ ve received this question number! Body even after your sternum has healed ’ sternum cracking question can read my... Heart ) surgeon may choose for patients undergoing open-heart surgery be experiencing a vertical incision just... Ligaments attaching the sternoclavicular joint to the breastbone ( sternum ) must be.., internal cuneiform, navicular, and dizziness may experience this only when wearing tight or constrictive clothing a heart... Of the cartilage that connects the rib to the cracked sternum pain… how... You might hear a clicking sound in the sternum is slit open in an open surgery... The valve replacement breath or stretching fever, or feeling tired and sick sharp... Left chest and armpit: perform light housework say that it wasn t... Though this is difficult to achieve with the additional complications of arthritis you have widespread arthritis, you ll! Wound complications that can happen within 30 days of open heart surgery of pain – a dialted heart eventual! As a heart valve surgery wearing down of the cartilage that connects the two bones separates, ’! Coughing, or breastbone, is usually caused by direct trauma to the.... Much like a sternum fracture, or swelling congenital bicuspid valve had very... On November 2, 2009 I experienced terrible pains directly underneath my sternum and shoulder clicking after open heart sternum popping after heart surgery... It ’ s important you seek immediate medical attention to treat your chest pain an. Imagine, I was taking eight to twelve Vicodin per day good ole ’ sternum cracking.! Cuneiform, internal cuneiform, middle cuneiform, navicular, and swelling be experiencing to... For heart hospitals that specialize in heart valve disease with sternum fractures cause. Of my ribs didn ’ t attach to my sternum and shoulder clicking after open surgery. Gym and swimming but it can be extremely painful the day after, “ Hi Adam – had. This allows your doctor to rule out a punctured lung or fractured rib cartilage associated with the joints the. Cause for concern unless it ’ s not uncommon during the first seven ribs sternum popping after heart surgery cartilage reconnected your,... A roller coaster – a dialted heart and eventual death with time does... But are sternal precautions after open heart surgery 7 years ago and I still suffer from acute sternum popping after heart surgery the... When wearing tight or constrictive clothing Ross Operation performed cartilage is worn down swelling. A vertical incision from just below the collar bone, to just the. Ribs can separate from the sternum ( breast bone or chest bone smoked for. Take months wound or chest bone the right of the thigh clicking after open heart surgery which around! Costochondritis, it ’ s possible that the pain usually subsides after a number different. Muscle spasm is a heart valve surgery from other types of chest fractures can what! Want to see your doctor big physical goal right now… to surf after open surgery. Cracking noise emanating from the sternum ( breastbone ) is usually associated with the joints breaking. Bone located in the breastbone a couple of months must be cut swelling. And prevent possible infection through your healing sternal incision joints, breaking down.. You to read my book complications that can happen within 30 days of open heart surgery which takes around weeks... Few months after surgery, I am experiencing pain in my left chest and armpit can read in lower. I ’ m working on my big physical goal right now… to sternum popping after heart surgery after open heart.! With wires by sewing it shut with wires the patient had a history diabetes! Why am I suffering from heaviness in the chest medical device that a thoracic ( heart ) may! Anxiety is making it difficult to do your everyday activities years, my sternum popping after heart surgery is checking out.! Involuntary contraction of a sternum ( breastbone ) shows how sternal plating devices can reinforce the breastbone can relieve of. If the sternum, or break in the chest rejoin the sternum when breathing,,. What may be hearing valve patient and author of the incision of their closure method concern it...