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Surgeon 'gluing' the breastbone together after open-heart surgery
Date:11/12/2009

An innovative method is being used to repair the breastbone after it is intentionally broken to provide access to the heart during open-heart surgery. The technique uses a state-of-the-art adhesive that rapidly bonds to bone and accelerates the recovery process.

"We can now heal the breastbone in hours instead of weeks after open-heart surgery. Patients can make a full recovery after surgery and get back to full physical activities in days instead of months," reports Dr. Paul W.M. Fedak, MD PhD FRCSC, a cardiac surgeon at Foothills Medical Centre and scientist at the Faculty of Medicine who pioneered the new procedure.

Over 20 patients have received the new technique in Calgary as part of a pilot study. Fedak and Kathryn King, RN PhD are the co-principal investigators on the study. King, a cardiovascular nurse scientist, is an expert in post-operative recovery after open-heart surgery. "We know that recovery from sternotomy is a multi-faceted process that includes not only healing of the breastbone but the ability to return to normal activities," she says. "Being able to resume normal activities is a hallmark of a good recovery; this surgical innovation should enable that."

The patients report substantially less pain and discomfort after surgery and the use of strong pain medication, such as narcotics, is profoundly reduced if not completely eliminated with use of the procedure. The ability to deep breathe, known to play a key role in recovery, is also substantially improved.

Richard Cuming's chest was repaired in June KryptoniteTM adhesive, a biocompatible polymer (manufactured by Doctors Research Group Inc., (Connecticut USA). Two years earlier he had open-heart surgery repaired the traditional way sewing his breastbone back together with wire. That wire broke, his breastbone opened, and Cuming had a difficult time.

"I couldn't accomplish simple tasks like squeezing toothpaste, turning the steering wheel in
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Contact: Jordanna Heller
medmedia@ucalgary.ca
403-220-2431
University of Calgary
Source:Eurekalert  

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Surgeon 'gluing' the breastbone together after open-heart surgery
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