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Open heart incision pain
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Open heart incision pain

I am a 65 year old, otherwise healthy, female.  I am four and a half weeks out from a quadruple bypass. No heart damage.   My surgeon, today, said everything looks good.  My incision is still so tender that my softest shirt hurts it.  I'm wear deep V necks to avoid the pain.  My surgeon told me he had never, in 30 years, had anyone complain of incision pain this far out from surgery, that perhaps I was having an allergic reaction to the metal used to close the breastbone.  He told me to come back in a month if it still was tender, that he could remove the metal if necessary.  Does this sound reasonable?  At this point, the thought of another surgery leaves me feeling ill!  Is incision tenderness at four and a half weeks unheard of?
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21064_tn?1309312333
I think I have read where other patients have had continuing incision discomfort at a similar point in their recovery.  Are you able to use OTC pain relievers?  Do warm/cold compresses help at all?  

My Dad and others I know have had CABG and some have definitely mentioned lingering leg discomfort.  Maybe it can be similar for the chest incision.

Please let us know how you're doing.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi; I had CABGX3 on June11 2007, just over a year ago.I am still struggling with incision pain.I feel as if I can feel the wires pulling at my flesh under my skin.Sometimes it feels as if the feeling is subsiding for a few days but as soon as I try to pick up something the least bit heavy it starts all over again.I have asked my Drs. if they can remove these wires but they never give me a straight answer........something to the effect like"we don't normally do that".........I have been back to the ER 4 times but they just tell me that they think my pain is "non-cardiac".A large part of patients that were in my cardio rehab had incision pain to various degrees.....younger ones hurt more;older ones tended to hurt less.My cardiologist verified this.It seems that the older you are ,the quicker your recovery time.I am currently 52,will turn 53 this year. I hope that I can convince my surgeon or SOME surgeon to remove this wire in my sternum......hope this helped   John
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560109_tn?1220279867
Chest pain is common up to 8 to 10 weeks post sternotomy. If it is simply incisional pain, time will cure you. You may have some sternal instability which could yield this pain also. The only way to evaluate this if it persists is to have a 3D CT scan and look at your sternum to see if it is healing. One cannot be allergic to the wires. One can have an unstable sternum which will yield pain all the time. If that is the case, then it would be wise to have the wires removed, and use a device called the talon. It can be seen on the web site,rapidsternalclosure.com. It is an FDA approved device that has been used in the US and 6 foreign countries hundreds of times. You can either contact me or Dr. Scott Levin at Duke University regarding the placenment, and ther may be a local doctor who does use the device.
                    arch s miller ms md facs
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for your comments.  Just the reassurance that it is probably not the wires is good to have.  The pain is diminishing, but I'm now 8 weeks out, and still have quite a bit, so I'm taking your comments to my primary care physician tomorrow.  I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my concerns.  This has been a scary time.
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Avatar_n_tn
This is a very common occurance with many patients post-operatively.  We have found the Incision Shield to be very benefical to patients suffering from incision contact pain.  You may find the at www.****.***.  Best wishes in your continued recovery.
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