Advice on scar please.: I had my bypass... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation
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Advice on scar please.

Heather1957
Heather1957

I had my bypass operation 3 weeks ago last Friday and consider myself very lucky in that I didn't have a lot of pain, discomfort yes, pain, not a lot.

As my wound is healing I am finding I am having more and more twinges which I know are to be expected but the area around the scar is becoming very tight. The Cardiac nurse said not to put anything on the scar so I am putting moisturiser around the area but it still feels quite tight.

Has anyone else experienced this and if so how long did it last? Did you use anything if so any advice?

Thanks

33 Replies
oldestnewest

This is happening to me I am nearly 11 weeks post op after bypass. Apparently the scar and surrounding area can take up to a year to heal and I was told this by rehabilitation cardiac nurse. Mine is also ver tight and also extremely numb across the surrounding area. Vaseline was recommended by one health practitioner, but I have been using bio oil and I have tried moisturiser none really work, but I do have nice soft skin, but out of these I have stuck with the bio oil (boots sell it) as long term it says it helps with fading.

Heather1957
Heather1957 in reply to Twobells

Thanks for the reply - I have had a really 'feel sorry for myself' day and have even wished I had taken my chance with luck (I know that is stupid) and not had the op. I am in more pain and discomfort now than I ever was and I feel that there is such little support from the medical professionals that I am feeling a little lost. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. Thanks again for your reply.

Twobells
Twobells in reply to Heather1957

This is exactly what I felt, still do, but those days are becoming less. However, I still have days when I wish I hadn't had the surgery. The alternative would have been death so there is no choice. I feel patronised when a health care professional says to me 'everyone feels like that' maybe everyone does, but it such an uncaring brusque response and when and what you really need is support and an ear. I've been back to my GP no help there either. So thank goodness for this site. Get the phone number from Internet for British Heart Foundation helpline. They listened and have helped me. Don't read to much literature about what has happened just yet, Just try one day at a time. This is huge what has happened. The rehab team in your area will be in touch soon to invite you to a pre-session about the programme, I don't enjoy the exercise programme, but I enjoy meeting the other people who have heart disease. Heather, ask for help and keep asking until you get it. You can contact me on here. X

Heather1957
Heather1957 in reply to Twobells

Exactly!!! You need to hear these things from those who have experienced it not just those that have heard it. As you say thank goodness there is somewhere to vent. Like you, in my head I know this was the only option but at the moment I just need to wallow!

Thanks again for the support it really is appreciated!

joy14232
joy14232 in reply to Heather1957

Do hope you are feeling a bit better today. It's almost 2 years since my quad bypass and I felt like you in the first few weeks and months after - even wishing I'd never had the op. But I wouldn't be here writing this and looking forward to my holiday if I hadn't. Recovery is a long slow business - a roller coaster of ups and downs, despair and hope , but gradually you do feel better and it's only when you look back after a few months that you see how far you have come. That time is yet to happen for you, but just hang in there and you will come out the other side fit and well and able to enjoy life again.

Twobells
Twobells in reply to joy14232

Thank you Joy for this. The days I feel despair are getting less, but I feel stuck. I just want o be back to my old self, but I seem to be taking a little longer than I expected. I have rehab today Weds so I am going armed with questions as to why I don't feel to great, but I have a bit of a cold so hopefully that's all it is.

Heather1957
Heather1957 in reply to Twobells

Good luck today and I hope you get some helpful answers, if you know why you are feeling the way you do it can help.

You wallow on as this really doesn't do any harm. I actually tell people that I'm having a feel sorry for myself day, this is usually followed by a sympathetic 'poor you'. Keep going the uncomfortable scar area try a cool cloth takes the sting out.

I am a firm believer in sharing!! I think it is very healthy. I will try the cool cloth trick it can't do any harm!

skid112
skid112Heart Star

7 near 8 months on my scar is still painful at times. The only advise I got from docs was to massage it 5 minutes three times a day. You are nowhere near that yet, but if you get to rehab classes ask them for advice too.

Thanks guys I know it is still early days and I know it was the right thing to do but as I said more aches and pains than I had before the op. I now have an agonising pain from my elbow to my little finger and have no clue why. Maybe it is arthritis as I can't think how the op can cause this. I'll give it a few more days then make an appointment with my GP I don't want to seek medical help at every ache and pain. I know it takes time I think I'm being a little impatient!

Twobells
Twobells in reply to Heather1957

You can have problems in arms post op. I didn't have any problems with mine, but I vaguely remember my surgeon saying something about it. When they cut you they go through all kinds of nerve routes. No harm in mentioning to GP or rehab team.

Hi, my op is on 13th so read here with interest (and alarm). I expect to feel discomfort and pain but hope not too much despair. Good luck with your continued journey, which I am to join you in shortly.

Heather1957
Heather1957 in reply to chrsfrm

chrsfrm knowledge is power so I understand why you are are alarmed I know I was petrified leading up to my op but just be aware there will be ups and downs and just knowing that can help. When I have about 5 good days followed by 2 or 3 bad days I know that is to be expected. My main concern is the lack of support. I was released from ITU after just 4 days, I had no lead up and as I live alone I had to quickly get my friend up from Burnham to look after me (we thought she had 2 more days). They were not used to discharging anyone from ITU so they really didn't know what to do and more to the point I didn't know if I could cope. I was told to go to the wound drop in centre to get the stitches out and then the cardiac nurse got in touch 10 days later.

Of course I hope it it different where you live.

Remember it is a big op, take it easy and don't expect too much to soon. We will be there to support you and help where we can.

Good luck!

Twobells
Twobells in reply to chrsfrm

I spent 4 weeks in hospital, up to operation I got a lot of support, but like Heather post op I felt isolated. The first few weeks are very tough, but I wasn't prepared at all for the emotional roller coaster. In hindsight I wish I'd asked a lot more questions. I was an emergency. So my advice is to ask lots of questions, what support is there once you go home. Make sure you have someone with you for several days when you get home, you will need it. Hope all goes well.

joy14232
joy14232 in reply to chrsfrm

Hi chrsfrm. We will all be thinking of you on the 13th. Make sure to keep in touch as we are all on the same road to recovery - some further along than others. I think I may be the oldest (probably in years as well!) as my quad bypass was 2 years ago in August. I still sometimes have a tight feeling around my scars on chest and the leg they took the artery from, but absolutely no pain or real discomfort. I've been told that the tightness is due to the fact that normal tissue stretches every which way, but scar tissue will only stretch in one direction hence the 'pull' Be kind to yourself when you get home and accept any help offered. It's hard when you've always been independent, and frustrating to be unable to do simple tasks and worst of all feeling low, but it does pass in time. The very best of luck to you and remember we are all here for you. xxx

Heather1957
Heather1957 in reply to joy14232

Joy - so true especially the independence. I am a single woman and although my friend stayed with me for 2 weeks I am now back on my own. It can be hard not to do things like put the bin out but what I do is invite my sister to my house for something to eat on a Wednesday so she can put my bin out ready for collection on Thursday.

Thanks Heather. Good advice. I am close to you in Exmouth, op to be done at Derriford in Plymouth.

Heather1957
Heather1957 in reply to chrsfrm

I live in Wales and my friend lives in Burnham so bless her she had only just got out of the shower and I phoned and said 'come and get me'. I was sat in a chair as they prepared my bed for the next patient who was already in theater - they are desperate for beds!

Any questions please ask, I only had a single bypass but most things are still clear in my mind so if I know the answer I'll tell you.

Hi - i used bio oil and it really helped. its expensive but it did the job, my scar is almost gone ... just a white line that is fading. I used it on my leg and that has almost disappeared!!!

I was fortunate that my doctor told me to use this almost immediately as rubbing the scar area gets you used to feeling it as part of your body now and also it makes the skin supple.

Like everyone who has had heart surgery, you get days of low and days of feeling ok. I still after all this time (2 years) still have nightmares where i dream I am not going to wake up. I am glad i had the op because i am sure i would not be here now

If anyone has any questions and I can answer I will :)

Happy days :)

I have some of this oil and will start to use it I wonder what would happen if I used it on the upper part of the scar as that is easily accessible.

Twobells
Twobells in reply to Heather1957

I put it on all of the scar, won't do any harm. It has removed the angry red look already.

Heather1957
Heather1957 in reply to Twobells

I am going to make an emergency appointment with my GP tomorrow as the top stitch looks infected to me. I will ask about rubbing the oil in the scar now to start the healing - no-one has really given me any advice I have got all my info from here.

Today was a failure - I tried phoning for an emergency appointment at 8.30 am and couldn't get through. I then fell back asleep!! When I woke up I tried again (just after 9 am) and all the appointments have gone. I will try again tomorrow morning, I had better I phone out of bed.

Heather1957
Heather1957 in reply to Twobells

How soon after your op did you start to use it - I am 4 weeks after now so think it should be okay.

Twobells
Twobells in reply to Heather1957

About 4 weeks after I had op I had infections on drain holes so I booked in with practise nurse if you cannot get to see a GP. She put iodine on them which dried them up, but I saw her every couple of days until they healed. I used oil as soon as I came home, but not on infected ones. Cover the infected one over to protect it from bacteria. Ask if the GP can give you a call back most practices do this nationally. Other than that ask to speak to practice manager that generally magics an appointment. Hope this helps. Totally agree about lack of support I to find this a better source of information. The other route you could try is the rehab service in your area you should have been given a number for them also.

Heather1957
Heather1957 in reply to Twobells

I have started putting iodine and a cover over the infected stitch. I had an infected drainage stitch too and that's all they did. I had an appointment come today to see the physio for assessment on 10th August then I'll start the rehab based on my assessment.

I am going to start a walking routine through our town park which my niece is going to help with starting Wednesday.

I want to see the GP to let him know about the pain in my left arm, I doubt he can do anything but I need to start the ball rolling.

Our practice does give a call back service but I think it is about time someone took a look at my war wounds as no-one seems to be doing that.

For over a week now I have an agonising pain down my left arm - I never had constant pain before but this is horrendous. It is running from my shoulder to my little finger (which has pins and needles) The main pain is in my elbow. I cannot think what has caused it and have decided to see my GP on Monday although I doubt there is much they can do. Has anyone else suffered this? It is really bad. I never expected to go through a major operation and come out of it in more pain than when I went in.

skid112
skid112Heart Star

That sounds like nerve damage. You should go to the doctor and get it checked out. Long before my heart surgery I had a few bulging discs in my neck and had the same symptoms as you describe

Thanks skid112 I think you are right although what they can do now worries me. I am going to see my GP on Monday so I'll see what options they give me.

Hi I had a bypass last year. I used Bio oil and massaged it into my leg and chest scars daily. The act of gently massaging really helped to get the feeling back into the areas. A year on I am still using it after showers. My leg just has a small area at the bottom which is still sensitive but the chest and the rest of the leg scars are barely visible

Heather1957
Heather1957 in reply to DawnP

Thanks Dawn - I would have used the oil on my scar if I hadn't been told not to by the cardiac nurse!! I see the surgeon on Monday and will ask him. To be fair they have made a good job of the scar it follows my cleavage line in a straight line so apart from the top part it is coming along nicely although I am still numb around it. I am using the bio oil around the scar area but hopefully after the appointment I will rub it onto the scar itself.

Thanks again for the info, I expect to be using the oil for sometime if it makes it a little easier.

Hi there Heather, I had double bypass 4 months ago and my scar is still tender and tight especially around the upper part.. although it has relaxed a little lately I still avoid reaching my arms out to the side as this aggravates it..I was advised not to use any moisturiser or anything fragranced on or around the scar area..I'm finding the deep breathing exercises are helping me with this. Maybe chat with your GP or the rehab team as we all heal in our own way and time. Be kind to yourself.

Regards

Sandra

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