Pain at Site of implant

I got my pacemaker inserted on Valentine's day...now over a month has passed and the bruises and swelling have pretty much gone away. The skin over my pacemaker is very sensitive and still painful. I can feel all the bumps and where the wires connect if I run my finger over it. Just about everything I wear rubs against it. I bought the pads you attach to bra straps, but as I don't wear one, they aren't much good. I tried taping them over the site, but they aren't soft enough and keep falling off 🥴

Any suggestions for some kind of padding to put over it until it's done healing? How long will it be so sensitive? Or am I just going to have to get used to the irritation?


7 Comments

pain and touching

by new to pace.... - 2023-03-18 18:17:33

First try and keep from feeling it with your fingers.  It problably is still somewhat swollen as it has only been about a month.  You have to remember some of the nerve ends were cut.   I did not put anything over my implant while i was healing.  Just wear loose fitting clothes  so they do not rub.  After a while  you will not remember it is there.

 new to pace

New pacemaker

by AgentX86 - 2023-03-18 21:11:58

Do not play with it.  There is something known as "pacemaker twiddler's syndrome" where the pacemaker will fail because, yes, the patient couldn't keep their hands off it. Don't get in that habit.

It's only been a month.  You're still healing so don't expect to be completely pain free.  I had very little pain after implant but it was sensitive to the touch for eight months after.  Don't try to pad it.  It won't work.  Whatever you pad it with, touches it, and makes it worse.  Instead, do something to lift the offending object, bra strap (no personal knowledge) or shoulder belt, in my case, over the PM.  That is, put something next to the PM so the strap is lifted over the area.  I've heard from some women will cut the left strap off, get a strapless bra, sports bra, or the like.  The idea is the same: no strap touching the offending area.

Pain & Sensitivity

by Penguin - 2023-03-19 06:10:42

I agree with AgentX re: sensitivity rather than pain.  Pain should be investigated particularly if the area is very red or inflamed as wounds can become infected sometimes and this is a serious matter with pacemakers requiring immediate attention.

If there is no infection and the sensations continue I'd suggest that you wear natural materials over your upper body such as cottons and linens which breathe and keep the skin cool. I'd avoid materials like wool which generate heat or fabrics which are not smooth and soft.  I'd leave it open to the air as much as you can and invest in a cooling compress like an ice bag which you can keep scrupulously clean and apply to the skin when it feels painful. 

My wound felt prickly for quite some months and was very swollen initially.  It took quite a long time to calm down - but it did eventually. I didn't interfere with it at all. 

You'll get there!

by Persephone - 2023-03-19 11:56:29

Glad you're feeling overall well with your PM. I also thought the sensitivity would never go away and adjusted my clothing choices as necessary. Some months later I realized the area felt mostly like normal skin again. Yes, the device is still slightly visible, especially where the leads come in as you describe, but that issue is not very bothersome anymore. Carrying a heavy bag with a shoulder strap on the PM-side shoulder is probably the only real area where I need to continue to make an accommodation.

It'll get better for you. Take care.

Bra strap

by Gotrhythm - 2023-03-19 11:57:17

With my first pacemaker I got lucky and my bra strap just missed touching the pacemaker. With  this second one, unfortunately the strap lies smack-dab on top of the pacer. I can relate to the problem with sensitivity.

But what to do? In my case inserting a makeup sponge between the strap and the area just above the pacer was sufficient to keep the strap from actually contacting the skin over the pacer in the sensitive spot. But it all depends on your anatomy. Some members have found bras with wider placed straps, and when this one needs to be replaced, I'm going to look for one.

But the good news is that over time the sensitivity has become less and less. It's possible that when the time for bra replacement rolls around, I won't need a new style of strap.

I'm a few months ahead of you in healing time. Though I'm sure the swelling has gone down, there's probably still more than you think. It can still go down more, and as the nerves that were cut regrow and settle in, the sensitivity will hopefully abate.

In the meantime, as others have said, Keep your fingers off it! Whether you can feel the wires depends totallly on your particular anatomy and how much natural padding (fat) you have in the area.

It’s going to improve

by Lavender - 2023-03-19 16:01:19

Everyone gave you good advice:

don't touch the wires or pacemaker site

wear loose clothing

you said you don't wear a bra but it might help if you are bigger busted-you could then move the strap closer to the armpit and pad under it to lift it

How you feel now is going to improve. It's going to heal more over the upcoming months!

Thanks :-)

by Gemma777 - 2023-03-19 17:01:58

Thanks for the advice! I was just worroed that something might be wrong, but having a time frame for how long it will take to heal helps

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