Friday, October 24, 2014

Monday, December 29, 2008 Russ, Community Member, asks

Q: Life without a Sternum

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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Answers (6)
Martin Cane, M.D., Health Pro
1/ 4/09 9:42am

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.

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RAOCUB1, Community Member
3/ 3/13 7:39pm

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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mrbbq82, Community Member
1/24/11 12:46am

THERE is really NOTHING out there so a few of us have formed a support group

 

you may want to try "sternectomy support" for more info

 

Greg A Heenan

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Barbara Cooke, Community Member
4/16/11 1:29pm

Please add me to your list I had 6 bypasses and was in hospital 3 and 1half momths. Had my sternum removed and have variious problems I would like to talk to some one that has gone through simmiler things thank you

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mrbbq82, Community Member
7/10/11 10:47pm

If you want feel free to email me a number mrbbq82@hotmail.com 519-748-1158

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John, Community Member
7/22/12 8:40pm
I also had my sternum removed Jan. 2012 and was in hospital 5 months. Mitral valve replaced first. Since then I have had problems with fluid building up in my chest and having to have it drained often has become a concern. When it fills Up my breathing is effected and the clicking gets worse. The fluid buildup is a mystery. I had a drain for 2 months, the doctor removed it thinking my body would handle the fluid, but it's not working. Have you had any fluid problems? Guess we will always have clicking. I think I should be happy I'm still here to worry about my problems.p Reply
John, Community Member
7/22/12 8:44pm
I also had my sternum removed Jan. 2012 and was in hospital 5 months. Mitral valve replaced first. Since then I have had problems with fluid building up in my chest and having to have it drained often has become a concern. When it fills Up my breathing is effected and the clicking gets worse. The fluid buildup is a mystery. I had a drain for 2 months, the doctor removed it thinking my body would handle the fluid, but it's not working. Have you had any fluid problems? Guess we will always have clicking. I think I should be happy I'm still here to worry about my problems. Reply
mrbbq82, Community Member
1/24/11 12:46am

THERE is really NOTHING out there so a few of us have formed a support group

 

you may want to try "sternectomy support" for more info

 

Greg A Heenan

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RAOCUB1, Community Member
8/ 7/12 5:18pm

I would love to join this group as the doctor answering the original question says the heart is the problem ands we will do fine without a sternum is BS . I can not work yet I also can not bget disability. I also an sure that doctor has his sternum. Try lifting andplaying any kind of rough house with your kids or grandkids than tell me you will be ok without the sternum.

 

 

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mrbbq82, Community Member
8/ 9/12 9:13pm

If you want we can talk anytime....I have a great long distance plan that I get 1,000  mins to use anytime tp places anywhere in North America http://sternectomysupport.webs.com/apps/members/?view=grid&q=&sort=LAST_LOGIN

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Patrick Goodwin, Community Member
9/27/13 3:05am
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 Reply
lone sternum, Community Member
2/27/14 5:20pm

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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lone sternum, Community Member
2/27/14 5:20pm

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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mrbbq82, Community Member
4/11/14 10:27pm

I have purchased a riding lawnmower that I have obtained a snoblower attachment with a snowcab so now I can look after my place year round

 

I was sick of letting others do for me all the time as well but I have recently broken bones at the top of my right foot so I can;t stay out as long to play

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By Russ, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/21/14, First Published: 12/29/08