For several weeks leading up to surgery, your doctor may ask you to quit smoking and eliminate alcohol use. This will help keep your immune system strong and improve liver function for a quicker post-surgical healing process.1 Some patient risk factors that affect breastbone healing include age, smoking and BMI.2 A heart surgeon may choose an improved method of breastbone closure, such as SternaLock ® Blu, to help promote improved healing.
It is important to ask your surgeon about what method of closure will be used on your breastbone. While your heart is likely repaired during surgery, your breastbone takes time to heal. The stability of your breastbone can influence your recovery. Greater stability allows the blood vessels to grow across the fracture, which is the key to carrying blood and nutrients to the bone. If those vessels keep breaking due to movement, it will take much longer for the bone to heal, potentially preventing healing from occurring.3