I had open heart surgery to repain an ascending aortic aneursym and replace my aortic valve.
So far, I'm doing pretty good in my recovery, but the pain in my sternum is with me constantly. It gets really bad at night when I go to bed and hurts when I get up. By morning I feel better and go for my 3 mile walk. I am a very active person during the day.
My question ... how long does it take for the sternum to heal and the pain to subside?
First off make a Cardiologist appointment or follow-up appointment.
It's probably something like pericarditis which is inflammation of the pericardium, the sac surrounding the heart. Depending on what kind of pericarditis you have and how long ago you had the surgery and have had the pain, depends. Have you brought this up with the surgeon or Cardiologist? More likely you would get the proper response from them then us as we can only comment as we are not doctors, at least most of us. You can take tylenol or advil 2 - 4 times a day for the pain, 2 extra strength.
I am making my best guess on a procedure that I had and ended up with pericarditis. I have an autoimmune disease which means that I am one of the statistics that usually gets the risk/s involved.
Hope this helps
So far, yes, I had it checked out because at some point the pain was so bad that I thought I broke one of my sternum wires. But the xrays came back negative. So according to my cardiologist, it is coming from the sternum. During the day, it is usually not too bad, but the nights are still rough. So I am still back to my original question .. how long before the sternum mends and the pain subsides?
Sorry I can't be of more help to knowing how long.
Maybe for night pain if you have a recliner you could try it unless of course you have tried that? Sometimes when you are in a flat position taking a breath (inflating your lungs causing your ribs and all to expand while in a supine position) could excess pressure and cause the pain, so being in a reclining position would benefit in that situation. It's just a thought and trying to be a thoughtful to a fellow heart pain-bearer.
I don't see where you mentioned how long it's been since the surgery but mine was 18 years ago so I don't really remember how long mine lasted either. I'm sure it took more than a couple months though and I had a persistent pain at the bottom whenever I touched the xiphoid against something. That still bothers me. I have to be very careful when I lie on top of my engine to replace the spark plugs or even reach way in over the fender to work on it. But that has to do with how they screwed up the xiphiod when they put me back together. An xray from the side shows it points straight out forward instead of down like it's supposed to.
Other than that the only thing is I can feel the wires pulling when a storm is coming or when I get up after laying on my side working under the car.
I could feel the sides of the saw job moving at my collar bone for several months before they finally stuck together in one spot which happens to be with the left side of my chest about 1/8" out more than the right side. That isn't a problem but it feels weird when I run my fingers over it.
I had my open heart surgery on May 13th, 2014, so it's been a little of 10 weeks. During the day it's not too bad, but I still get really stiff at night sleeping. Overall, it is getting somewhat better, so I guess I just have to be patient and wait for the bone to heal, which I've read can take up to 6 months.