Sternal dehiscence

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 21 Feb 2023

Sternal dehiscence of the median sternotomy closure is an infrequent post sternotomy complication. It may be latent or difficult to detect clinically, or it may be sudden and very obvious. It may lead to sternal non-union. It may or may not be complicated by infection.


It may occur in 0.2-5% of patients post sternotomy and usually happens as a result of primary non-union, poor wound healing or premature overexertion 6.


Radiographic features

Chest radiograph

It may manifest as a gross or subtle change in position and/or integrity of the sternal wires. Often radiographic features may manifest prior to clinical signs or symptoms 3.

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Cases and figures

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