A sternotomy, sometimes referred to as a median sternotomy, is a surgical incision that allows access to the heart, thymus and lungs for such procedures as:
- Lung surgery
- Biopsy or removal of tumors in the center of the chest (mediastinum), most commonly related to thymoma, a tumor on the thymus gland
- Coronary artery bypass surgery
- Heart valve surgery
- Heart transplant
- Correction of congenital heart defects
Your surgeon will make an incision down the middle of your chest and through your breastbone (sternum). Often mistakenly referred to as open heart surgery, this incision will allow your surgeon to view and operate inside the mediastinum, in the space between your lungs.