Heart Surgery Scars

Heart Surgery Scars Heart surgery scars are a painful reminder of a long healing process following the trauma of open heart surgery. A sternotomy scar is often large and may remain tender long after the surgery. Surgery is, by nature, an invasive trauma to the body. Scars are the result of the body’s efforts to repair the damage. Why Don’t Scars Go Away? When the dermis, or skin, is damaged, the body does its best to repair the damage. Since the dermis is the first line of defense against invading germs and bacteria, it must be repaired as quickly and efficiently as possible. Therefore, rather than take the time to regrow normal skin, the body resorts to producing large amounts of collagen, a thick, fibrous tissue, producing a scar and protecting the body from invading bacteria. Do the Scars From Open Heart Surgery Go Away? While scars fade over time, a sternotomy scar will never fade entirely. The damage to the dermis and underlying tissue is far too extensive for the body to heal entirely. The scar may remain tender and “tight” for years following the surgery and will never go away. There are steps the patient can take to reduce scarring and help the body heal following surgery, but the open heart surgery scar will always remain. Can You Replace Scar Tissue with Normal Tissue? It is not possible to replace scar tissue. Producing scar tissue and healing the incisions from invasive surgery takes all of the body’s resources. Once the wound is sealed and the body protected from foreign bodies and bacteria, the scar is permanent. It...

No Sternotomy Scars!

One of the major benefits of minimally invasive heart surgery is that there are no huge sternotomy scars! Dr. Ciuffo performs his minimally invasive procedures with long, thin surgical tools through a small incision, usually about two inches long. There is no need for massive incisions and broken bones. Median Sternotomy Scar A median sternotomy refers to the surgical procedure that involves a long vertical incision along the sternum, then the sternum is split or cracked so that doctors can get to the heart and lungs. This is used for traditional heart surgeries like the coronary artery bypass, heart valve replacements, and more. The sternotomy scar usually begins just at the collar bone, and can go almost all the way down to the belly button. It is usually about eight to twelve inches. The scar can be very hard to cover with low cut or flimsy shirts. In some cases, the unsightly surgical mark is the source of confidence issues. But…. you can avoid it!! Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery Scar Dr. Ciuffo’s minimally invasive heart surgery procedures are sometimes referred to as scarless heart surgeries. He performs the cardiac procedures with long surgical instruments through a small, two inch incision, eliminating the need for the huge scar and broken bones. Patients can expect a small, two inch scar along the skin crease underneath the breast. With healing, the scar to fade into a barely visible thin white line. This tiny line can be hidden easily under low cut shirts, evening gowns, and the flimsiest of apparel. For female cardiac patients, the scar is usually hidden under the fold of the breast. This is very similar...