What is an Open Heart Surgery Scar?
When you undergo bypass or open heart surgery, your chest is cut down the middle. This is done so that the doctors can easily reach your heart valves. In the process, your breastbone is also cut, while your ribs are spread open for clear access. However, after the operation, a scar is left in its wake when your skin begins to form back together. This is known as an open heart surgery scar.
Although the scars indicate your healing process has begun — internally as well as on the outside, there is bound to be some pain. But don’t worry, surgery scars are harmless, and when cared for correctly, they tend to fade over time.
How Painful is Open Heart Surgery
During the surgery, you won’t feel a thing. This is because before the procedure even begins, the surgeon administers strong anesthesia. This way, you are not awake to witness the surgery, nor do you remember it after. Thus, bypass surgery isn’t painful when being performed. However, after the surgery, there may be a tingling sensation or complete numbness around your chest. Nonetheless, that’s nothing to be afraid of since sensitivity at the incision site is common. With the help of medication and soothing creams, you will begin to notice vast differences.
Types of Heart Surgery Scars
You might think all heart surgeries are the same. But the truth is that not all scars run along your chest. Open heart surgery scars come in all shapes and sizes. Here are its top four types:
- Median Sternotomy Scars These scars are typically 8 to 11 inches long since the sternum is cut open from top to bottom. It allows the surgeon direct access to your heart. In the end, the breastbone is wired shut, and the skin is either stapled, glued, or stitched.
- Mini Sternotomy Scars Usually, these scars are 3 to 4 inches long. They result from minimally invasive surgery. In these cases, only a small incision is made rather than a long cut. The skin is then stitched or stapled.
- Mini Thoracotomy Scars Also referred to as Port Access scars, these scars are extremely small. These incisions are spread out above the heart since the surgeon uses smaller instruments during the procedure. Moreover, the sternum isn’t cut either because a surgical camera is weaved through the ribs. Overall, these scars have a fast recovery time since they’re not as invasive.
- Robot-Assisted Scars Robot-assisted scars are far smaller than the others. They form as a result of an open heart surgery where a robot is used for assistance. In addition, the access points are tiny and made with minimal incisions. This results in the scar size reducing considerably and healing at a faster pace.
How Long does it Take for an Open Heart Surgery Scar to heal?
The healing time for an open heart surgery scar depends on how you care for it. In general, though, it takes up to two to three months to heal. During this time, you may face some ups and downs, but that is a common aftereffect of the surgery. Make sure to keep in contact with your surgeon and follow all preventive measures they provide. Plus, with all the soothing creams and medications, it won’t be long before you bounce back into shape.
The Final Takeaway
In conclusion, open heart surgery scars are not painful or a serious threat. All you have to do is take excellent care of them, and in no time, they will recover. For more information, visit Octagos Health or call (281) 769-8733 to schedule an appointment.