Sternal exploration or closure

VAC - vacuum-assisted closure - sternal wound; Sternal dehiscence; Sternal infection

When you have open heart surgery, the surgeon may make a cut (incision) that runs down the middle of your chest bone (sternum). The incision usually heals on its own. But sometimes, there are complications that require treatment.

Two wound complications that can happen within 30 days of open heart surgery are:

  • Infection in the wound or chest bone. The symptoms can be pus at the incision, a fever, or feeling tired and sick.
  • The sternum separates into two. The sternum and chest become unstable. You might hear a clicking sound in the sternum when breathing, coughing, or moving around.


Why the Procedure Is Performed

Before the Procedure

After the Procedure

Outlook (Prognosis)