Anyone still have sternum pain one year after surgery?

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Astoriano

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May 4, 2012
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Hi all,

Long-time reader, first-time poster. Thanks to all of you for your prior postings. Reading this message board before and after my surgery helped me prepare and get through everything better than any other source!

I'm 34, and had an aortic valve replacement just over one year ago (bovine tissue valve). My recovery was pretty much uneventful, and I feel really lucky not to have had any complications. My only lingering issue is occasional sternum pain. It's really not severe or anything, and not even that frequent. But I still feel the twinge every now and then when I sneeze, and usually after I lie down flat on my back after doing pull-ups and bar-dips at the gym. Then sometimes, I'll feel it when I'm getting up from the couch or rolling out of bed. It's not debilitating or anything, or even bad enough to make me want to take painkillers (apart from the occasional Tylenol), but it's annoying enough that I wonder if/when it'll go away.

Anyone else still feel it this long after surgery? I asked my cardiologist about it last week at my check-up, and he basically said, "Yeah, that might bother you for a bit," without really elaborating. I figure if it's still here a year on, it's probably not going away. But I wonder if that means it'll be worse after my second and third surgeries in the future?

Thanks to anyone who has any info to share!

-A
 

Just ASK

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Sneezing and coughing still cause a bit of "Hey, remember when they cracked you open right here?" memory in the form of a sharp pain. Nothing terrible, but still quite apparent at 14 months out. I imagine it will be that way for a long time, er, uh, a long 'bit'... :cool2:
 

Jkm7

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After my first OHS, my sternum remained sore and sensitive to weather changes.
Four years later, when I needed a second OHS, I told my surgeon (same as who did my first OHS) about the soreness never fully resolving and he said he would try to see the cause when he opened me again and correct whatever caused it the first time and he did.

He never did tell me what it was but I'm much more comfortable this time. On a raw, stormy I feel a little sore but it is not constant or severe.

Some people will always have residual discomfort and some have reported their wires were the cause. We've had members here who had their wires removed. It requires surgery but if the soreness is severe enough, it might be worth it.

Do you think it's your wires?
 

jake

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Jun 20, 2010
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Detroit Michigan
Yea, Im 18 months out and I get occasional pain, not even enough to want to take even OTC pain meds. I even get a little popping in there which I really dont understand. Anyway, it gets better all the time and hopfully, we will lose the discomfort over time.
 

tom in MO

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Although, I had my OHS recently, I've had surgeries for other things, the first 18 years ago, last about 4 years. I still get reminders of them; even the 18 yo surgery. A "new pain" that is old and familiar but goes away quickly is life's way of reminding you to be happy that you're alive. :) It does get better and over time gets less frequent and intense.
 

halleyg

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Atlanta, GA
I'm over 5 years out and I still get sternum pain, more like soreness. At my last yearly cardio visit he told me if it still hurts, then it always will. It will get sore after a tough work out, and also with weather changes, especially in the winter.
 

Astoriano

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Thanks for your replies, everyone. It seems like it's here to stay, in one way or another, which really isn't that big a deal, since it's not too severe to begin with. Jkm7, I have no idea if it's my wires--it doesn't feel like what I'd imagine sharp, pointy wires would feel like when causing pain--but regardless, it certainly isn't bad enough to consider more surgery or even painkillers. That's good to hear that your sternum pain got better after the second surgery. I was wondering what mine will feel like after the second...and third!
 

Willyimac

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Thanks for your replies, everyone. It seems like it's here to stay, in one way or another, which really isn't that big a deal, since it's not too severe to begin with. Jkm7, I have no idea if it's my wires--it doesn't feel like what I'd imagine sharp, pointy wires would feel like when causing pain--but regardless, it certainly isn't bad enough to consider more surgery or even painkillers. That's good to hear that your sternum pain got better after the second surgery. I was wondering what mine will feel like after the second...and third!
 

Willyimac

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OHS 10/2017 I still cant lay on my back to sleep the popping in sternum is painful so I sleep on my right side ribs dont much unless I've played 18 holes of golf. Dont tell my cardiologist but played 18 holes at 9 weeks after surgery. They have xray of my chest wires to confirm they are not to much of a mess in the past. 66 years old retirement in 3 months.
 

leadville

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@Willyimac

Look at costochondritis see if it rings any bells.

If i bench press or do dips i suffer
If i hit too many driver shots at the range i suffer too, with you mentioning the golf it may be the swing ?

it's worth a read maybe



OHS can be a trigger
 
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Bryan B

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NC
After my first surgery in March of 2004 I had chronic sternum pain long after the surgery. CT scans and MRI's were inconclusive. I was given prednisone therapy a couple different times which seemed to help, but as soon as the regimen was done the pain came back. I ended up having the wires removed ~8 months after the initial surgery and that fixed the problem. The anesthesiologist used propofol so I was able to have it done as an outpatient and went home the same day. I still have my wires from my 2nd surgery and have never had a problem with them. 🤷‍♂️
 

pellicle

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Look at costochondritis see if it rings any bells.
...
OHS can be a trigger
nice to have a name for what I felt. Of course in my case there were perhaps some confusing complications, but still now (OHS was Nov 2011, now is 2020) get some annoyance around the manubrium if I bench more than I should
 

leadville

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@pellicle

Hi mate, i was convinced i was having a heart attack the day after a hard bench session.
my pain seems to appear around 24hr post activity

i find incline bench alleviates the issue along with not going too deep.

My wife read an article in a magazine about the cartilage pain then told me about it, it ticks
all my boxes.

i have had it since my OHS almost 10 years now
 

jlcsn2015

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Sep 21, 2015
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Toronto
Never had "big" pains, but did have "little" pains or sensitivity for 3 years, now is 4 years passed, no pain anymore, i was surprised lasted that long, but internal healings take longer than what can be sen with the eyes, just a thought
 

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