Stemcelldoc's Weblog

February 11, 2012

Postoperative Sternotomy Pain: New Treatment Options

At the Centeno-Schultz Clinic we acknowledge that the chronic pain following sternotomy operations can be debilitating.  Sternotomy is an incision into or through the chest bone (sternum).

Kalso followed 71 patients who had undergone thymectomy and 720 who had undergone coronary bypass grafting (CABG) and noted that  27-28% of the  patients reported chronic post-sternotomy pain.

Poststernotomy chest pain should be thoroughly evaluated to rule out serious pathology, such as infection, myocardial ischemia, and sternal  cartilage instability.

Other possible sources have been investigated by others.

Dafalque et al demonstrated entrapment of the superficial nerves by scar tissue as a cause of pain.

Weber demonstrated sternal wire sutures, either by direct sternal or periostial irritation as a cause of pain.

At the Centeno-Schultz Clinic MSK ultrasound is utilized to visualize the scar and breakup the entrapped superficial nerves.  The procedure involves the use of prolotherapy and has afforded many patients lasting pain relief.

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