Female Dental Professional with Female Patient
Some medical and dental procedures could damage or affect your pacemaker. Learn about these procedures below. Be sure to always tell your dentist and physicians that you have a pacemaker so they can take the necessary safety steps.

Procedures that Can Affect Your Pacemaker

These procedures can affect your pacemaker and/or injure you. If you must have any of these procedures, be sure to talk with your heart doctor and the doctor performing the procedure about what can be done to protect you and your pacemaker.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

People with pacemakers often need magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but it is sometimes not possible because the magnetic fields could damage certain devices.

An MRI is a diagnostic test that uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to produce images of the human body. You may be able to have an MRI scan if you have a Boston Scientific ImageReady MR Conditional pacing system. Talk to your physician about your particular pacemaker.

If your pacemaker is not compatible with MRI, you should not have the MRI. Always ask your doctor to make sure that you are able to have this scan.

Hospitals keep MRI equipment in rooms marked with signs that say that magnets are inside. Do not go inside these rooms unless your physician has confirmed that you are cleared to have an MRI.

Talk to your doctor before having these procedures:


You should not have diathermy. It uses an electrical field to apply heat to tissues in the body and could damage your pacemaker or injure you.


Electrocautery is used during surgical procedures to stop vessels from bleeding.

Electrolysis and Thermolysis

These dermatology or hair removal procedures pass electrical current into the skin.

External Defibrillation

This procedure uses equipment to deliver an electrical shock to your heart to restore a heart rate to a normal rhythm, usually in a medical emergency. External defibrillation can affect your pacemaker but can be performed if necessary. Be sure to contact your physician as soon as possible if have this done to make sure that your pacemaker is working properly.


Used to break up stones in the urinary tract, such as kidney stones, lithotripsy can damage your pacemaker unless certain safety steps are taken.

Therapeutic Radiation Treatment for Cancer 

This procedure for cancer can affect your pacemaker. Talk with your heart doctor and the doctor performing the radiation treatment before you begin.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Unit

This device used to control chronic pain can affect your pacemaker.


Procedures that Will NOT Affect Your Pacemaker

Most medical and dental procedures will not affect your pacemaker. Some examples are:

  • Dental drills and cleaning equipment
  • Diagnostic X-rays
  • Diagnostic ultrasound procedures
  • Mammograms

NOTE: Mammograms will not interfere with your pacemaker. However, your pacemaker could be damaged if it gets compressed in the mammogram machine. Make sure the doctor or technician knows you have an implanted device.

  • EKG machines
  • CT scans

Talk to Your Doctor

Be sure to tell your dentist and/or doctor that you have a pacemaker before you have any medical or surgical procedure. They can contact the physician who monitors your pacemaker to find the best way to treat you.

Resources and Support

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