After heart surgery, following the separation of the sternum, around 1% of patients will suffer from sternal wound healing disorders. The reduced blood flow to the sternum can have a negative effect on the surrounding soft tissue and lead to life-threatening infection.
This condition is known as sternal osteomyelitis. In many cases, following the removal of the diseased tissue in the anterior chest wall, a flap surgery will be required. The flap provides stable soft tissue coverage and ensures the chronic wound is closed. Patient quality of life is notably improved following this type of procedure.