How Big Is The Scar From Open Heart Surgery?

Open heart surgery is a lifesaver, as it helps a patient to get rid of problems related to the heart. Although open heart surgery saves the life, it also leaves behind a scar that reminds of the surgery for the rest of the life. Any surgery where it is essential for the doctor to expose the heart to perform the necessary operation falls under the category of open heart surgery.

To expose the heart, the surgeon opens the breastbone or the sternum that requires a vertical incision that is lengthy. Numerous heart procedures have begun to use less invasive methods or techniques that are safe and leave behind minimal scarring. Irrespective of the heart surgery that the patient underwent, it is possible to reduce the scarring with little care.

How Big Is The Scar From Open Heart Surgery?

What Procedures Require Open Heart Surgery?

The common reason for the requirement of open heart surgery is coronary artery bypass grafting. The procedure involves grafting of a healthy artery as a replacement for a blocked artery. The bypass ensures that the heart receives fresh blood continuously. The other reasons for open heart surgery include coronary heart diseases, abnormal heart rhythms, placement of pacemakers, heart failure, and replacement of heart valves.

In traditional open heart surgery, the surgeon performs an incision that extends to a length of 10 inches vertically in the chest region. Although, the new technologies are less invasive, they do require an incision that is shorter in length. Because of the reduction in the range, it becomes possible for the patient to reduce the appearance of the incision with appropriate care. The minimally invasive surgeries include robot-assisted valve surgery and endoscopic surgery.

Taking Care Of The Surgical Incision

Taking care of the surgical incision is a better way to reduce the scarring in appearance. Many patients who undergo an open heart surgery remain in the hospital for a few days. During this period, healthcare professionals monitor post-operative symptoms and also provide treatment for healing the incision. Upon regaining the required strength, the doctor discharges the patient.

When the patient returns home, should continue to take care of the incision according to the instructions provided by the surgeon. The primary characteristic is to avoid application of ointments or lotion on the incision area. In case of an infection, it is necessary to seek or visit the surgeon immediately before things turn around and cause trouble. It is natural for the victim to feel itchiness around the incision for a while. The itching sensation is common during the healing process for open heart surgery. One should restrain from scratching the region, as it can damage new skin that is covering the incision.

Reducing the Appearance Of The Scar

Additional trauma will add to the damage of the incision and interrupts with the healing process. Such a situation leads to an increase in the damage to the scar tissue of the incision. To prevent such a state, wearing clothing that is soft and provides the needed comfort without creating abrasion with the incision area is advisable.

In addition to it, it is also essential to prevent exposure of the area to the sun for at least two years. Exposure to the UV rays emitted by the sun increases the damage, making it difficult for the scar to heal. A better way is to opt for UV protected clothing. For those who are wearing a dress that exposes the region, applying sunscreen lotion with high SPF is advisable. Once the cycle of healing is complete, the patients can utilize scar treatment creams available in the market to speed up the scar healing process.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 11, 2018

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