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How to take care of your implantable medical device

Lana Bandoim's picture
Implantable medical device

Whether you have a pacemaker or another type of implantable medical device, it is crucial to learn how to take care of it. Consider the following tips and information about these devices.


Implantable medical devices can range from pacemakers to defibrillators. They are often required to treat a medical condition or other problem. If you have an implantable medical advice, then consider the following recommendations for taking care of it.

What is an implantable medical device?

An implantable medical device is an object that has been placed inside the body or on the surface. These types of devices are often designed to replace a damaged structure or tissue in the body. They can also help treat different medical conditions or provide a way to deliver medications. Implants are usually inserted during a surgery and can be either permanent or temporary.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explains, “Medical implants are devices or tissues that are placed inside or on the surface of the body. Many implants are prosthetics, intended to replace missing body parts. Other implants deliver medication, monitor body functions, or provide support to organs and tissues. Some implants are made from skin, bone or other body tissues. Others are made from metal, plastic, ceramic or other materials. Implants can be placed permanently or they can be removed once they are no longer needed. For example, stents or hip implants are intended to be permanent. But chemotherapy ports or screws to repair broken bones can be removed when they no longer needed.”

How do you take care of implantable medical devices?

The first step is to ask your doctor for detailed instructions about caring for an implantable medical device. You also need to be aware of possible complications and restrictions. The most common complications are infection, pain, rejection and inflammation. You may need to take specific medications, make lifestyle changes, make diet modifications or have physical therapy after getting an implantable device.

Do you need therapeutic apparel for implantable medical devices?

You may need special therapeutic apparel after getting implantable medical devices. Consider discussing it with your doctor and search for the best clothing options. This type of apparel can make it easier to live with the implants.

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According to BODHE, medical therapeutic apparel can help those who have an implanted cardiac device, pacemaker, defibrillator, chemo IV line or power injection port for receiving medication. They create undergarments for men and women that are casual and can be worn every day.

BODHE explains that its silver-infused fabrics are antimicrobial resistant, so they help decrease the likelihood of an infection after surgery. They also help reduce the movement of the device under the skin by decreasing friction between the device and tissue. They can reduce the risk of hematomas and seromas. In addition, medical therapeutic apparel can increase comfort and decrease pain. This type of apparel can help mask the device’s outline, so it is less visible.

Can cell phones interfere with implantable devices?

It may be possible for a cell phone to interfere with some implantable devices. This can vary depending on the type of phone and the type of device you have inside the body. Better known as electromagnetic interference (EMI), it can affect items such as pacemakers and defibrillators.

The current recommendations are to avoid carrying or holding a cell phone next to an implantable medical device. You may also want to consider holding a phone at least six inches away from the body at all times. Another recommendation is to hold up the phone to the ear that is on the opposite side of the implant.

Can you use microwave ovens with implantable devices?

If you have an implantable device, you may be wondering if it is safe to use the microwave oven in your home. According to the American Heart Association, microwaves pose little to no risk for people with an implantable medical device. They are generally considered safe, so you can continue to heat up food in them. However, if you are concerned about the impact, discuss it with a doctor and change to an alternative way of cooking or heating meals.

What should you avoid with implantable devices?

Although you may be able to return to normal activities after recuperating, there are several things you want to avoid. First, you may want to change or limit how you use cell phones to reduce the risk of electromagnetic interference. Second, you may want to limit or change how you use MP3 players’ headphones because of possible interference. Third, you may have to avoid MRIs, CT scans, radiation treatments, radiofrequency ablation (RFA), microwave ablation and TENS machines. Discuss your concerns with a doctor before getting any type of medical treatment.

It is possible to lead a normal life with an implantable medical device, but you have to take some precautions and consider the risks. Make sure to talk about your concerns with a medical professional and get specific recommendations for your implant.