Medical and Dental Procedures
Procedures that Can Affect 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.
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
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
Resources and Support
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