My Open Heart Surgery Scar

You asked for it, you got it!

*Heads up* An open heart surgery scar is visible later in this post! First I talk about, then I show it. You will be re-warned before I show it. (I promise.)

I have people coming to my blog almost every day through searches such as “woman’s open heart surgery scar.” I assume these are women who’ll be having open-heart surgery who want to know what they’re gonna have to deal with.

As someone who’s been through it, I’ll show you. I have a completely un-retouched photo in this post. (The lighting’s not special or perfect, but I think can you see what you need to.)

I don’t care if the photo’s embarrassing. If it helps the curious patients, I’m happy to do it. I don’t know if this qualifies as over-sharing. Sometimes I’m not sure what the line is between helpful-sharing/quelling curiosity and over-sharing/annoying people.

I feel like on this specific blog though, I don’t worry about it too much. If you come here, you’re here to hear about my life. I’m not mucking up a feed on some social network. If you’re here, you’re gonna get me, I’m pretty sure.

A picture is worth 1,000 words. So, I guess you don’t need me to say anything else. Nonetheless, I’ll talk about it a little.

My doctors were amazingly wonderful. They definitely made my scar as small as they could. In the scheme of open-heart surgery scars, mine’s pretty small. Not all scars will look like mine. (My surgery was performed by Dr. Gus Vlahakes at Mass General, in case you’re looking for my incredible surgeon.)

Yes, my scar’s not pleasant to look at. And yes, as all other scars, I can feel it. And it feels weird. Personally, I think it feels weirder than normal scars because you can tell my sternum was broken in two. Sternums have a specific feel. And mine doesn’t feel that way.

My scar can be almost completely hidden by my cleavage. (Just a tiny bit sticks out at the very top, but unless someone is really paying attention, I don’t think it’s usually noticed. (Or maybe it’s noticed all the time, and people just rarely point it out to me. Who knows, really.))

If I were a bikini-wearing lady, things would be different, ’cause breasts aren’t pushed together in most bikini tops. (I don’t wear bikinis ’cause my abs shouldn’t be flaunted and I hate the sun, not ’cause of scar embarrassment.)

In addition to the main scar, at the bottom of the photo, you can see two lighter horizontal dashes. I think those are from my epicardial ablation. There are a few little horizontal dashes down there. I think some are from random tubes/wires that stuck out of me after surgery.

Speaking of the photo, I try to make my blog suitable for all audiences. I try not to post any inappropriate photos. But I don’t consider this to really be inappropriate. My breasts are covered. But because I know people still might not want to be looking at a random woman’s torso wherever you read this. I’ve left a good scrolling space so the photo doesn’t show up as, bam, the first thing.

So, here we go.

*re-warning (last warning)*
The open-heart surgery scar photo is below. If you don’t want to see it,┬ástop right here.┬áDon’t scroll down. Leave this post, and hopefully I’ll see you tomorrow! (If you do want to see it, get scrolling!)

post-surgery woman's open heart surgery scar - the scar in the middle of the sternum

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Comments: 31

  1. Anonymous Monday, September 16, 2013 at 6:13 pm Reply

    Wow, not bad at all

    • Aurora De Lucia Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 12:52 am Reply

      Well, it’s certainly much worse than not having one. lol!

  2. Zoe Friday, September 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm Reply

    That’s not too bad at all – considering the extent of surgery. I think it’s great that you’re fairly confident and you’ve given me some positivity. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Anonymous Friday, September 27, 2013 at 2:09 pm Reply

    Your scar looks great. My looks … crappy! lol ;)

    • Aurora De Lucia Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 7:59 am Reply

      It’s all probably about our perception, I suppose. I’m sure probably most people who have one thinks it looks crappy. (I know I have good and bad days with mine.) No one wants to have a scar in the middle of her chest. :-P Thank you for commenting! :-)

  4. Anonymous Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 8:15 pm Reply

    Thank you for sharing. I’m 3 weeks out and am currently disgusted by mine but I know it will get better. Yours looks amazing. ;)

    • Aurora De Lucia Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 8:41 am Reply

      I’m sorry to hear you’re disgusted with yours… But I completely understand. I had a really hard time dealing with mine. Even still, I sometimes struggle with it.

      I hope your surgery went well and that your recovery goes smoothly. Thanks very much for commenting!

  5. Jen Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 11:37 am Reply

    Wow, you are very lucky! Your scar looks great. I just had my third open heart surgery a few weeks ago. My scar is MUCH longer and unfortunately, can’t be hidden well. I am very grateful for my wonderful surgical team, but as a 30-year-old woman I’m a little more self-conscious now. Mine is healing well though and I’m blessed to have a healthy heart again.

    • Aurora De Lucia Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 11:43 am Reply

      Wow, 3rd open heart surgery! I am so sorry to hear that. It sounds like you have a really lovely attitude about it all. I’m sure it’s been a rough road!

  6. Jeff Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm Reply

    Your scar does not look bad at all! I had anterior cervical surgery where they went through my neck and my scar looks much worse. Yours is honestly not bad at all. With your warning in the article of the upcoming photo, I was ready for something really bad. Yours looks like it healed really nice.

    • Aurora De Lucia Friday, December 13, 2013 at 2:24 am Reply

      Thanks for the encouragement. Yeah, I guess maybe I little over-warned and will perhaps edit that down… I just don’t want to catch anyone off guard on the internet who’s just reading along non-chalantly then all of a sudden, “Wait! What’s that?! Gah!” :-P

  7. Sue Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 8:19 pm Reply

    I had open heart surgery 17 months ago and I have a very red bumpy scar. Your scar is beautiful. I was prepared to view something totally different.

    • Aurora De Lucia Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 4:10 am Reply

      Well, thank you for saying it’s beautiful. I’m sorry to hear you don’t seem pleased with your scar, but I hope you had a very successful surgery and are at least feeling healthier! (Sorry, I know that’s not always good enough…)

      • Roxanne Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 11:15 am Reply

        Thank you for sharing. Will have my surgery shortly and was wondering about incision. I know each person is different but glad u posted picture

        • Aurora De Lucia Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:34 am Reply

          Thanks so much for commenting, Roxanne! Best of luck in your surgery! Please feel free to write and let me know how it goes.

  8. Rosa Monday, January 13, 2014 at 6:56 pm Reply

    Hello. You and your scar are beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I’m scheduled for mitral valve repair next week. Not scared but anxious. I’d be a dope if I wasn’t! Any advice? I’m having mine at Mt Auburn Hospital in Cambridge MA. Guess we’re neighbors. I’m a 62 year old active grandma. My “age-appropriate” plunging neckline may not be out of the question after all.

    No symptoms but echo numbers are changing, condition severe. Doc suggests surgery before irreversible heart damage. I’m SO ready. Thanks.

    • Aurora De Lucia Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 5:45 pm Reply

      Thank you for your kind comment, Rosa.

      I don’t know if I have any advice, really. All I’d really say is use that breathing apparatus they give you to practice using big breaths! Better to work on it right away and get back into the swing of life sooner rather than later – or at least that what’s I found.

      I wish you luck with your mitral valve repair! Thanks again for commenting.

  9. Rosa Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 4:25 pm Reply

    Thank you very much.

  10. Rosa Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 12:39 pm Reply

    Surgery (mitral valve repair) was 1-21, went excellent. Not as bad as some would imagine. Could have come home in 4 days but I opted to stay an extra day. I have all positive stories.

    • Aurora De Lucia Monday, January 27, 2014 at 8:14 am Reply

      So glad to hear it went well! Thanks for writing to let me know. :-)

  11. Rosa Friday, February 7, 2014 at 12:41 pm Reply

    Anybody post open heart (mitral valve repair) anybody ever experience daily migraines with brief aura and/or finger numbness? Migraines are worse than the surgery. Seeing surgeon next week. I have had migraines for many years. Thanks.

    • Aurora De Lucia Friday, February 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm Reply

      Not me. Don’t know if anyone else in this comments section has… Good luck with your appointment, Rosa!

  12. Brogan Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 3:34 am Reply

    Hey I have a question about your scar I had surgery 4 weeks ago (Ross procedure) How long did it take for your scar to look like that? As mine is very visable. Also Rosa I was the same I had migraines everyday and numbness in my fingers and toes. It has cleared up now but my doctor put me back on to my daily migraine tablets.

    • Aurora De Lucia Sunday, February 9, 2014 at 3:14 am Reply

      Hi Brogan. It definitely didn’t look like this at the beginning. I don’t remember exactly how long it took to settle down to looking like this, but I’d say it probably took two months?

      • Brogan Sunday, February 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm Reply

        Thank you for responding, That’s good to hear. Your photo reassured me.

  13. robyn Friday, March 7, 2014 at 2:25 am Reply

    Hi..Thank you for sharing. I’m lying in bed at the Brigham as we speak. My scar doesn’t look like yours but it’s about 3 days post op. I’m 43. Still scared as heck..mine appears glued, thick and ugly.

    • Aurora De Lucia Friday, March 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm Reply

      Hi Robyn, thanks for commenting. I hope your scar heals well soon. Sorry to hear you’re in the hospital, but glad to hear you’re 3 days post op. It’s (hopefully) all better from here! My best advice, if I’d be so bold as to give some, is to get away from the internet for a while… It can be a real dark, scary, black hole here in cyberspace. I know sometimes I feel worse when I fall into the rabbit’s hole of comparing myself to other people… Good luck with your recovery!

  14. Mathilda Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 2:52 am Reply

    Thank you for sharing, Aurora! I remember before and after I had my open heart surgery at twenty, I couldn’t find anyone who had a blog about their heart condition, scar or post-op life. Now, 3 1/2 years later, the wound has healed but I had some issues with scar tissue so it is much more obvious than yours! Some times I struggle with wearing a low cut top, for fear of attracting unwanted attention, at times I wear my bikini and put on my don’t-give-a-damn attitude. Still trying to train up my fitness level but some days are so long and tiring my muscles won’t barge. How do you keep your energy going? :) I am amazed and inspired by what you have achieved! Just thought you needed to hear that! Stay healthy and happy x

    • Aurora De Lucia Sunday, March 30, 2014 at 9:42 pm Reply

      Thank you so much, Mathilda, for this lovely and wonderful comment! How sweet!

      As far as how I keep my energy up… sometimes I’m better than others (as I think most people are). But anytime my energy isn’t high enough, I just try to think about all the things I want to accomplish. Those dreams usually get me up and moving! :-)

      I totally feel you on the whole being scared of what you’re gonna wear thing. I’m sure it will be a long time ’til I can rock a bikini, but if that ever happens, I’ll definitely be going after one that hides my scar… I’ll probably try laser scar removal at some point. I hear it can work wonders. But I guess we shall see!

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment!

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