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Separated Sternum after bypass - What can be done?
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Separated Sternum after bypass - What can be done?

My 65 year old father had bypass surgery back in March.  Shortly after the surgery, he started complaining about his chest/sternum area hurting (obviously!) and mentioned that it felt like his sternum was floating around.  The doctors told him that was natural and that it would heal with time.    Finally, after several complaints to his doctor, x-rays/cat scans were done and the results showed that the metal wiring that was used to close his sternum had pulled apart and his sternum was actually floating (even though he had followed every direction provided to him for recovery).  The cat scan showed that the edges of his sternum had micro fractures of some sort that would prevent them from trying to reclose.  The only suggestion they had was to see a plastic surgeon. The plastic surgeon told him that he has two options.  First, they could go in and remove the metal wiring that had pulled apart and that would most likely fix the pinching feeling he has been feeling.  They would leave the sternum as is and not repair it.  The second option was to go in and try and fix it completely.  They would pull back the muscle surrounding the sternum and then use some type of metal plating to reattach the two sides of the sternum.  They would then put the muscle back.  The problem with this is that chance of infection is high and it might not hold.  He is currently weighing his options but has no clue as to what he will do.  Has anyone here ever heard of this problem happening after bypass?  And what was doen to fix it?  Any help will be greatly appreciated!

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My uncle had bypass many years ago and lived 25 additional years as a result.  His sternum never did heal.  He continued to enjoy an active life, loved bowling and other activites.  I know it is different strokes for different folks, but in this one case it wasn't an issue that affected his quality of life.
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Avatar_m_tn
As long as they do what is essential to him playing golf, your dad will be just fine. He is a player and those types have to play to live. Best regards and may he always hit it in the short grass.
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Avatar_n_tn
I appreciate the information on your uncle.  I'm glad to hear that his probelms after bypass did not interfere with his quality of life.  My father is a golfer and is hoping that this problems doesn't affect his game too much.  Although, at least he can use it as an excuse for a bad shot!

Was your uncle's sternum completely separated?  The doctors have told my father that he can live like this with little to no problems but that is not really providng any answers as to why this happened, why they didn't catch it sooner and why they didn't explain that this was a possibility before the operation.  I don't want to place blame on the doctors but their reaction to this situation is less than adequate and are treating him like this is an every day occurance.  So far, I have found zero information on this type of problem after bypass and what can be done to fix it which leads me to believe that this rarely happens.  Believe it or not but the plastic surgeons have been the most helpful.  At least they have given him a couple of choices yet they can't explain why this happened.  Even they were baffled.
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Avatar_n_tn
I do not know if his sternum was completely separated.  The language used was that"it did not heal."
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