• Russ Russ
    December 29, 2008
    Life without a Sternum
    Russ Russ
    December 29, 2008

    I am 50 years old and I have recently gone through a double bypass surgery.  My  sternum was removed because of an infection and the area was covered by my peck muscle.  I cannot seem to locate information of "Life without a Sternum" on the net.  I am trying to research what I can expect as far as my quality of life, excercise, and life expectancy.

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FROM OUR EXPERTS

  • Martin Cane, M.D.
    Health Pro
    January 04, 2009
    Martin Cane, M.D.
    Health Pro
    January 04, 2009

    Russ,

     

    Thanks for your question.

     

    I have had several patients who have had their sternum removed because of a post-operative infection after bypass surgery.  Infection of the bone is very difficult to elliminate and often antibiotics are not enough, necessitating the removal of the infected bone.  The opening is usually covered with a muscle flap keeping it's blood supply intact.  If successful and the infection is totally elliminated, then your chances for a long, healthy life are very good.

     

    Things won't be totally normal.  This muscle flap might contract when you move your arm, and sometimes it may even be pulled in a bit when you take a deep breath, but as time goes by, you will adjust to these changes and they will become second nature.  New surgical techniques have improved the cosmetic appearance greatly over the years, and this might be less of a factor for you also. 

     

    In short, the effect on longevity is limited by your heart disease.  Take care of your heart by exercising, eating a healthy, low fat diet, and take your medication.  Your will do fine without a sternum.

     

    Best wishes.

     

    Martin Cane, M.D.

    • RAOCUB1
      March 03, 2013
      RAOCUB1
      March 03, 2013

      My chest constantly clicks and pulls inward. I will never be able to work and make anywhere near the money I was making. You say we can live a relatively normal life , what exactly does that mean if you are denied disability where do you get income from??? Pain is constant when the only work I can get is warehouse lifting and throwing and try driving a fork-lift for 8 or more hours with all the turning and pulling. There is nothing relatively normal about this. WHERE DOES THE INCOME COME FROM ???

       

       

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    • Elaine
      March 22, 2015
      Elaine
      March 22, 2015
      I had the same thing happen to me 9 years ago, but the had to leave me open. I was on a wound vac for 3 months and things healed nicely. The scar doesn't bother me, but at times, when I cough really hard, bump my shoulder against something, or twist my torso just so, it feels as if my rib is poking something and is quite painful. Since my ribs are "free floating" around, I tried talking to my surgeon about it...and then my cardiologist, but they just don't seem to want to address the issue. For the last 2 weeks, I've been getting my with tylenol and am seeing my GP about it tomorrow. Is it usual for ribs to be left unanchored like this? It hasn't caused me any real problem until recently. I can still do most everything, but things like pulling weeds and washing my car cause the stabbing pain.....but if I go at it slow and easy, I can still get it done. READ MORE

FROM OUR COMMUNITY

  • lone sternum February 27, 2014
    lone sternum
    February 27, 2014
    I know what the below however normal life is not possible without the sternum. I cannot patty a hamburger or push, pull, lift anything over 10 Lbs. I am a big man and before I could lift a refridgerator and put it on my bcak and carry it off. Now it is hard for me to leave this work to someone else. When I use a snow blower it is s difficult becasue of pulling it around to go the other way. Lifting my grand kids I cannot  do. So thy must get ujp on my lap by them selves. Any questions please let me know I have 95 % of my sternum removed. Thank you.  Me :)  READ MORE
  • ewodahs November 30, 2014
    ewodahs
    November 30, 2014
    Hi Russ...my name is Ed. I have had the same procedure as you and more. Like you I have looked for info., and there just doesn't seem to be any. I am 57 years old and a R.N., so although I have this background, as a patient I have found myself alone out here. If you want to share experiences or if I can help you understand anyrhing, please feel free to write me. I also had part of the neck bone taken out, and all of this medical event recently occurred. Like you I was concerned about the amount of time I had left even though the surgery itself was to maintain my lifeline. Seems the infection and subsequent surgeries are not the issue, but rather maintaining a healthy lifestyle with activity (limited as it may be) such as walking. Anyhow I am happy to meet you on line and hopefully together maybe we can start a support group for others, and resolve some of our own issues. I get frustrated many times throughout the day with things I use to be able to do, but can no longer do. So knowing someone that truly understands would be a blessing to me. Feel free to write me. I've added you in my google circle of friends. I am listed there as Uncle Edward .... My nephews and nieces meet up with me there at times. Hope to hear from you. READ MORE
  • lone sternum February 27, 2014
    lone sternum
    February 27, 2014

    I know what the below however normal life is not possible without the sternum. I cannot patty a hamburger or push, pull, lift anything over 10 Lbs. I am a big man and before I could lift a refridgerator and put it on my bcak and carry it off. Now it is hard for me to leave this work to someone else. When I use a snow blower it is s difficult becasue of pulling it around to go the other way. Lifting my grand kids I cannot  do. So thy must get ujp on my lap by them selves. Any questions please let me know I have 95 % of my sternum removed. Thank you.  Me :) 

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    • ewodahs
      November 30, 2014
      ewodahs
      November 30, 2014
      Hey "me"..... I am looking for others with the same issues. I started a post called (New) Life Without A Sternum. I'm trying to get us sternum-less people together in one place for support, talk, complaints, whatever physical and emotional stressors related to sternal removal. READ MORE
  • Patrick Goodwin September 27, 2013
    Patrick Goodwin
    September 27, 2013
    I am 60 buy 2 years ago same thing I would love to talk to some one with the same problem I know it is not a good idea to put out personal info but I would really like to talk to some one the more time that goes by the more problems I am having . Patrickgoody@gmail.com READ MORE
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