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A sternotomy is a procedure that allows your doctor to reach your heart or nearby organs and blood vessels. First the doctor made a cut (incision) in the skin over your breastbone (sternum). Then the doctor cut through your sternum. When your surgery was finished, the doctor reconnected your sternum. The doctor most likely used wire, which will stay in your body even after your sternum has healed.
Full recovery from surgery that includes a sternotomy can take months. Recovery includes healing of the sternum and slowly building up your physical strength.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to feel better as quickly as possible.
Using your arms to get out of and into a bed, chair, or couch can put pressure on your healing sternum. These instructions show you how to do these things safely.
Your nurse or doctor may have shown you a different way to do these things. If so, follow their instructions.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: August 31, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & David C. Stuesse MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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