Wire Removal

I have lost about 50+ pounds since my by-pass due to SCAD nearly 4 years ago. Because of the weight loss my top two sternal wires can be seen and will at times get irritated if they are "bumped". Has anyone had their wires removed? I met with my surgeon for a consult and it seems to be a very simple procedure. Out-patient surgery with only 24 hrs for recoup. Any advice/comments/shared stories would be appreciated...

Thanks in advance for sharing!!

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I had surgery on January 25, 2011 - had a mitral valve replacement. On June 10th I had 3 wires removed as they were poking me every time I would bend over the slightest bit - it felt like a sharp pin was sticking me all the time. The surgery was done as an outpatient - I was home 2 hours after surgery. I too was nervous about having more surgery, especially so close to my 1st one, but I can tell you that the pain is gone & I would do it again if I had too. Good Luck & I hope everything works out okay for you.

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Hmmmm...I was told it would be a very very very bad surgery similar to heart bypass again as they would have to go in and clean it all up and rewire it all over again...Not something anyone would really want to choose and that while most of his patients were in their 70's they usually choose to deal with the pain and just take pain killers to help relieve the pain. I wonder why I was told this by at least 3 different medical people and then you all are saying it was an outpatient ordeal???

Interesting will have to research this and watch this thread more thouroughly.

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Yes i know people that had wires removed (not rewired )and they said it was a piece of cake and nothing to it. Good luck and take care.

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I think the big difference is that if you are just having wires removed, they are just clipped and removed, no big deal. If you need to be re-wired, then that is a much bigger deal. Now that is how it was explained to me because I have severe osteoporosis so my sternum is not growing closed as well as most peoples and I have a broken wire that pokes me and hurts when touched. So I inquired as to what I should do at my last cardio checkup. I am only 8 mos. out from MV Repair with Ring Anualplasty(?). I think I will try to put up with it as long as possible. Might as well since I have to take pain meds for chestbone pain anyways!!! Good luck

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cpcrisman...BTW Kuddos on the weight lose. That is an erea I wish I were doing better in, also wish that was the reason for my wires hurting... :-)

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Thanks for the input everyone! I am guessing that rewiring would be a dramatically different procedure. I was told they would cut along the same incision and just clip and pull the top two wires that are sticking out. I will be making my appointment soon (need to get it in as I have met my deductible for the year!). I knew that I could count on my heart sisters!

Thanks for the kudos on the weight loss too...it is not an easy journey but I am almost back to pre-baby weight and considering my oldest is 10 it has taken a while :-). Just take things one step at a time. Strength training really helped me feel like myself after the surgery and once I felt stronger I was able to start walking/running like I really enjoy.

Good luck on all your journey's!

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Wanted to add my congratulations on the weight loss; my weight loss goals are similar to yours. I did a triathlon last October but since then I've kind of been stalled on the weight loss and exercise front. My goal for the coming months is to start getting back to the gym regularly.

Best of luck with the surgery, and again, congrats on the weight! :)

-Laura

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Well I had two broken wires to my heart. One was a pacemaker wire and the other was a wire that delivers the shock. My third wire was also a pacemaker wire and that one was O.K. I also have an older fourth wire that is not hooked up and was left in because it was deemed to dangerous to have removed from a previous pacemaker/defibrillator that I once had. This is my third device from Medtronics and the Doctors at Stanford Hospital in California said that they had never had a patient with two broken wires at the same time. Lucky me. Most Hospitals won't do this type of operation because it's so dangerous and the success rates aren't great. And that brings down the averages of success for the heart unit at hospitals so most won't do them. The danger is when they are pulling the wire out, if it gets a snag and a little hole opens up and you start losing blood, they have to crack open your chest and try to stop the bleeding, and many people don't make it through that. I don't mean to scare you but everyone on my heart team made it known to me how dangerous this proceedure was. So I'm very shocked at reading the answers to your post stating how it's easy action. I guess it's because my wires were broken and theirs where not. I was in the Hospital for a couple of days. The recovery was way easier than my open heart surgery. I had a triple bypass and mitro valve ring repair. Good luck. I wish you the best.

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Pacemaker lead wires are different from the wires used to hold the sternum together after open heart surgery. Lead wires go from the pacemaker or ICD in the pocket made under the skin in your chest into a large vein in that area and through that vein into the heart where it is imbedded in the heart tissue. The risk of damage to the heart and blood vessels is usually more than the risk of leaving the wire in place. When one is broken or migrated so it doesn't function properly, they disconnect it from the device and leave it there. Sternal wires are a piece of metal wire wound around the sternum to hold it in place until it heals. If ends are sticking out and causing a problem they can be trimmed or the wire removed as long as the sternum is fully healed. In case of non-union or infection, sometimes the sternum has to be cleaned up and rewired. That's a big surgery.

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My broken wires were found at Xmas time 2010. Just one month after my latest unit was put in at a different Hospital (not Stanford). The operation took about 5 1/2 hours. Almost as long as my open heart surgery. I had just gone grocery shopping and was putting the grocery's in my car when I suddenly felt really terrible. I drove myself a short distance to my home and couldn't even get out of my car to go inside my house. I thought that I must be having one of my many panic attacks as the symptoms mimic heart attacks exactly. I took a Lorazepam pill for the panic attack and waited for me to feel better but I never really did, so I begrudgingly called 911. I was shocked once in the ambulance and once in the E.R. before they turned off my device. This was three days before Christmas. They didn't take out and replace broken wires at their Hospital and said there was only a couple of Hospitals in the Bay Area that would do it. They transferred me to Stanford via ambulance the day before Xmas and I had my wires taken out and replaced two days after Xmas. I stayed there a few more days after the proceedure and was sent home. I've been shocked between 20 to 25 times in the last 4 years and have spent 2 out of the last 4 years in the E.R. on Christmas day waiting for major surgery's. Fun stuff. That's why I started having panic attacks. They feel exactly like major heart problems. And that makes it very difficult to figure out if one should go to the E.R. or not.

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Hi there! Yes, I had my wires removed. It was an outpatient procedure as you said. Just checking ... do you have any doubt that your sternum is healed? Any pain at all? Mine had not healed so removing the wires made that worse.

But if you're all healed up and the wires are bugging you, no worries at all to have them out.
Katherine

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KAKLeon, You said your sternum had not healed before your wires ere removed. How long after your Surgery was that. I am curious because mine was 8 mos ago, I have at least one broken wire that pokes me, but I still have alot of chest bone pain. I have severe osteroporosis and think the problems are due to my sternum not healing properly. I am just overly anxious I guess.....I just want everything to heal & stop hurting.

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Hi. I had 3 wires removed 4 months after surgery. Normally they would not have done it that early but I contracted an slow growing infection during heart surgery that I later discovered. At 8 months your sternum should be healed. It was an outpatient procedure that felt like cake compared to open heart surgery. I would do it again if I had to. I was down for a few days but felt much better once everything healed. Its worth it to not be in pain.

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Hi there. It actually was a year before I could convince them that something was not right!! It was awful. I was admitted for an episode of pain that they thought was another heart attack, but the cath was fine. My internist is actually the one who picked up a chest xray and said, Hey there are fractures up and down her sternum!

I had another kind of scan, which i can't remember the name of, but it was a nuclear one and everywhere the bone was unhealed, it lit up on the imaging. With that information, I went to a plastic surgeon and he did what's called a wound closure. He cleaned everything out, removed the zypoid process (tip that has no job), and installed titanium plates to stabilize the sternum so it could heal.

Definitely suggest this possibility to your surgeon, particularly with your osteoporosis. Hope that helps! Let me know.
Katherine

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KAKLeon, Thanks so much for the info. I will follow up on it for sure. Wow, could that be a light at the end of this tunnel???? I will let you know..Brenda

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Glad so many have connected and blsecoy that you are finding some possibilities. This site really amazes me at times! I just wish I had more time to be on it. Work and young children beckon! Just wanted to let everyone know that my wires will be removed on November 10! Say a little prayer if that is your thing...every little bit helps! Warm thoughts and wishes for all of you, my heart sisters!

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There should be no reason to rewire your chest after having old wires removed unless your sternum isn't healing properly, and that's a totally different problem. The wires are just there to hold your sternum together while it heals (usually takes about 12 weeks), kind of acting like a cast. Once your sternum has healed, the wires serve no further purpose. Everyone that I know who has had this done has had it done as an outpatient procedure and has said it wasn't a big deal at all.

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I've been considering it too, I'm happy to know it's an easy procedure!
When I accidentally bump my wires (because I too am rather thin) it will hurt for weeks sometimes,especially if i happens to hit a wire touching cartilage.


Good luck! If you get anything done, let us know how everything goes!!

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Well, today was the day! I had my sternal wires removed this morning and so far so good. It ended up taking about 45 minutes to remove three wires because the lowest had quite a bit of scar tissue around it. I am sore, but that is to be expected, nothing like the feeling of being hit and run over by the big truck that was my CABG. This was a small pick-up and I just bounced off the hood. I did get a general so I was out for the procedure. Slept for a couple of hours this afternoon and now just feel like I did the chest workout from hell...right now it feels like more of a muscle soreness (probably from the pulling they did to get the last wire free). They didn't list any restrictions accept to listen to my body and not over do it. There are dissolving stitches on the inside and steri-strips on the outside (this is what I was told-I haven't taken off the dressing yet). I will check in with the surgeons office next week so they can check the inscision. They said they cut on the same scar so I am hoping for nice healing...nothing like a scar to give the apprearance of deeper cleavage! If anyone has any questions just let me know. Thanks for all the support!!

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cpcrisman, so glad to hear things went well. Now I will say a little prayer for you that everything heals up nicely for you and you have no more pain. Take care and God Bless.

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