I have recently undergone a double-bypass surgery during which my sternum had to be removed because of an infection. The area is covered with my pectoral muscles. I am wondering how this is going to affect my quality of life, exercise routine, and life expectancy, but I'm unable to find information on line. Can you offer some advice?
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.
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 ???
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 :)