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Open heart surgery is no small procedure, which is why it's important to understand what to expect throughout the entirety of the process. Any unnerving experience can be made a little more comfortable by arming yourself with information. Let's get to arming!
When having open heart surgery, the patient's chest and breast bone will be cut open with an approximately 10 inch incision. This will expose the heart to give your surgeon access to your hear to perform the specific necessary procedure.
During the procedure the patient will be placed under general anesthesia
Open heart surgery, also referred to as traditional heart surgery, can be required for a number of reasons. Some of the most common reasons a patient might undergo open heart surgery include:
Leading up to open heart surgery, it's recommended that patients take a few pre-operative measures to ensure their recovery time is comfortable and safe. A few tips include:
Depending on the type of surgery you have, it's likely that you'll remain in the hospital (possibly in intensive care) for several days.
After that time, the bulk of your recovery will take place in the following 2 months. During this period it's important to attend cardiac rehabilitation and gradually increase your activity levels. Listen to your body and your doctor when working to increase your activity levels; the last thing you want is to push yourself too hard.
After the first two months of recovery when you'll see the majority of your healing progress, it can take up to a year to fully recover, according to the Cleveland Clinic. During this time it's important to have a healthy diet and to continue to increase activity levels until you're back to 100%.
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with having open heart surgery. Some risks include:
For additional questions and information related to your specific procedure, consult with your healthcare provider.