Right before your bypass, you’ll be given an IV to deliver antibiotics and anesthesia, so you won’t feel any pain. You’ll also have a bladder catheter and a breathing tube attached to a ventilator (breathing machine), and you’ll be connected to a heart-lung bypass machine.
Your surgeon will make an incision down the middle of your breastbone, about 7 to 8 inches long. To create the bypass, he or she will remove a portion of the large artery behind your breastbone and/or part of a leg vein and attach (graft) these to your coronary artery above and below the blockage. This creates a new pathway that lets blood flow normally to your heart again. Your surgeon can create more than one bypass if necessary during your operation.
Your surgeon will reposition your breastbone using metal wires and close your incision with sutures and, in some cases, staples. You’ll have drainage tubes in your chest for a short time, along with a temporary pacemaker. In most cases, your surgery will take 3 to 5 hours.