Straight versus S-shaped sternotomy: a histologic study in the sheep model

J Cardiothorac Surg. 2014 Oct 30;9:173. doi: 10.1186/s13019-014-0173-x.


Introduction: Straight sternotomy is the most common access for open heart surgery. Techniques have been proposed for maximizing sternal stability in high-risk patients. This trend implies a growing need for newer surgical techniques. The aim of this experimental study in the sheep model is to evaluate median vs. S shaped sternotomy the feasibility of using a special device to accelerate the sternal instability and bone healing.

Materials and methods: We enrolled 31 sheep, weighing 18-30 kg. For all animals a midline skin incision was made. In group I (n = 16 animals), straight median sternotomy and in group II (n = 15 animals), S-shaped incision was marked on the periosteum of the sternum by new created device for standard S-shaped sternotomy. Sternum biopsies were performed on second surgery month for all survived animals from the sternum and the surrounding soft tissue.

Results: No early superficial wound complications were observed. Overall mortality in the initial approach group was 19.3% (6 sheep). In group I; 3 sheep had died on first surgery day, the reason may be hemorrhage and in group II; 3 sheep developed intractable VF during surgery procedure or immediately afterwards so died. There were statistically significant differences in the scores of bone healing between group 1 and group 2 (4.2 vs.7.3, ANOVA, p < 0.001).

Discussion: Our work is based on the use of a standard S-shaped sternotomy procedure on sheep sternum. In our experience with the sternal healing in the sheep model, the process of new bone formation was accelerated with S- shaped cut than straight sternotomy procedure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Models, Animal
  • Sheep
  • Sternotomy / methods*
  • Sternum / surgery*
  • Wound Healing*