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Wow! I'm just wondering why it took 2 mri's and 3 cat scans. Am VERY curious to know why. Do please keep me/us posted.
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I have had horrible pain for the past 4 years. It feels like somone is sticking me with a knife and then pulling it out. It is difficult to use my arms when the pain is bad. I was told this only happens to about 1 - 2% of the people who have by pass surgery. ( had triple bypass in 2008). I come from a family that so far has had 5 people with bypass surgery and none have experienced this pain. I am going to a pain specialist now and they are doing steriod and novacaine shots down the scar. That helps about 2 months and then it is back. My pain specialist suggested I see a surgeon and see about getting the wires removed. My quality of life since open heart surgery has been bad. I would have rather died on the operating table then keep having this severe pain. If you find out how to get relief from this, please le me know.
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i go into hospital on sunday for sternal fixation after 4 years of pain 3 mri scans 2 ct scans and 5 xrays. then 8 weeks with a physco because i was told it was all in my head, anyone else with chest pains after surgery never give up . will let you know how it goes fingers crossed .
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twinsmom wrote:


Hi, I've done quite a bit of research on this chronic pain and the following article pretty much sums up what I've discovered. Post-op sternotomy pain is real and certainly a hindrance to the quality of life. Some people escape it, others don't. I find that I respond very unfavorably  to cold environments. Sitting in temp. under 70 always affects me. That's why I avoid air-conditioning whenever possible. I also refrain from reaching up or engaging in exercising that stretch my chest muscles. Even in my kitchen I do not reach up past the second shelf. The nerves and muscles and scar tissue from chest surgery for me remain very sensitive. I remember going for a echocardiagram after complaining. Two days after the cardiogram, I had SO much chest pain that the doctor sent me for Cardiac Cat Scan. After the CAT he suggested I go for another stent, which I refused to do. My chest discomfort eventually went away. I whenever I avoid irritating my chest wall, I am find; although the change in weather often triggers as well. You can google Post-Operative Sternotomy Pain. There's is quite a bitr of information about it. Chronic post-sternotomy pain. Kalso E, Mennander S, Tasmuth T, Nilsson E. Source Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland. _[removed]_ Abstract BACKGROUND: Chronic postoperative pain is a well-recognised problem. The incidence of severe incapacitating pain is about 3-5% after various types of surgery such as thoracotomy, repair of inguinal hernias and mastectomy. Sternotomy causes considerable postoperative pain and patients with chronic post-sternotomy pain are often referred to pain clinics. Epidemiological studies on chronic post-sternotomy pain are scarce, however. The aim of this paper was to study the incidence and possible risk factors of chronic pain following sternotomy operations performed for coronary bypass grafting or thymectomy. METHODS: Two groups of patients were studied for persistent pain following sternotomy operations. A questionnaire was sent in January 1997 to 71 patients with myasthenia gravis (MG) who had undergone a thymectomy during 1985-1996 and 720 patients who had had coronary bypass grafting (CABG) in 1994 were interviewed by letter. The patients were asked about the presence of pain and other symptoms in the chest, shoulders, arms or legs that they thought were connected to surgery. They were also asked about the quality of the pain and its evolvement with time. The patients' records were checked for details about surgery, anaesthesia and the state of the coronary disease. RESULTS: The response rate was 87%. The interval between the interview and surgery varied from 6 months to 12 years in the MG group and it was 2-3 years in the CABG group. In the MG group, 27% of the patients reported chronic post-sternotomy pain, which was moderate to severe in 48% of the patients. In the CABG group, 28% of the patients still had post-sternotomy pain, which was moderate to severe in 38% of patients. Of the patients who had post-sternotomy pain, one-third reported sleep disturbances due to the pain. CONCLUSION: Chronic post-sternotomy pain is an important complication that may have a significant impact on the patient's everyday life. Future studies will show whether minimising complications, improving postoperative care and starting early adequate pain management will reduce the incidence of this problem. PMID: 11576042 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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"I whenever I avoid irritating my chest wall, I am find;"



Let me rewrite this: I find that whenever I avoid irritating my chest wall, I am fine. When I do irritate it, I ache even when I try to swallow I can feel the pull. I also note that when I get a sore throat, my chest wall is quite sensitive. The article that I refer to begins with "Chronic Post-Sternotomy Pain by Mennander
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P.S. Dr. Oz was my cardiac surgeon years ago when I had my bypass.
Recently, I visited him with the idea of having my wires removed. He did not feel that was a good idea, and suggested that I consult a pain-management specialist. However, as I indicated, I have tried to avoid everything that would trigger an attack. So far, I've been fairly successful; especially during warm, summer months. Keep me posted.
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Good luck getting this corrected. I had triple bypass 4 years ago and my pain is severe. I have been seeing a pain specialist and he is giving me steriod injections and novacaine injections down the scar to

help with the pain. It last for about 2 months and then it is back. I do have a topical lotion to put on the scar to help with pain since I am very allergic and can't take hardly any kinds of meds. I am going to see my Internist Thursday and I am going to request exrays be taken and a surgeon take a look to see if the wires can be removed. I am so glad to see that I am not the only person dealing with this!
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Yes, JFm1956

Please keep us posted about your surgery. What exactly is the plan and

what is sternal fixation. My cardiologist has never used the term.
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sternal fixation is an opperation where you are opened up again on the same scarline.the wires are removed .the sternum brake cleaned up and three or four sternal braces screwed to your chest to prevent any movement lets hope it works will let you all know when i get out.
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I definitely will keep you in my prayers - that the doctors will be given the wisdom to know exactly how to proceed, that the surgeons hands will be guided to do this procedure successfully and that you will only have enough pain during the healing process to keep you from injuring the area, and then no pain from there on. Good luck!!!!

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Yes JFm156

May God be Who He is...The Great Physician for you today.
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home after 3 days in hospital first time in 4 years can lay in bed with no discomfort whatsoever they plated my sternum and also corrected a huge hernia which no one knew i had can recomend this to anyone with sternal pain after heart surgery
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So glad you're home and doing well. Hernia? Mmmm. I wonder if that had any impact on your previous discomfort. I notice that whenever I have chest discomfort ( soreness, ache, etc) I also have some upper gastric problems as well.

I'm not sure I would agree with you about EVERYONE having the surgery. It would depend a lot of their current health status and whether or not their doctor feels it would be beneficial. However, the ultimate decision is always up to the patient.. Continue to feel well. I would like to know if in the long-term your post-op condition remains pain free.

Take care,
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I had surgery 10 years ago and a few weeks ago I started having pain like knives sticking into my chest starting from the incision area and radiating up into my shoulder. Hurts worse when I lay down. Like you said, it feels like it did right after surgery. My dr. suggested arthritis but I have arthritis and this is NOT arthritis pain.
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Your doctor may have been correct. I have similar problems periodically depending on the change of seasons, whether or not I'm exposed to air condition or extreme cold, and whether or not I stretch my arms to reach high shelves, etc. As a former nurse, I suspect arthritis, scar tissue, nerve damage and possible sternal instability is contributing to my problem. As I indicated before there are several articles about the recent studies of post-operative steranal pain. I found them informative and reassuring as to what my problem was. At the moment, since the pain and discomfort comes after the above triggers, I've chosen to avoid when possible anything that might set the symptoms off. Otherwise, I endure it. For me, surgery is not an option at this time.

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