Recovery from pacemaker implant surgery may take some time, but by keeping a watchful eye and adhering to your doctor's advice, you can recover with fewer complications.
Prepare to Stay Overnight After Surgery
When your implantation surgery has been completed, you will most likely need to stay overnight for monitoring. Your cardiologist and cardiac nurses will monitor your heartbeat to ensure that the pacemaker is functioning properly and that you have a normal heartbeat. After that, you will need to arrange to have someone come and drive you home. You will probably need to schedule a follow-up visit to make sure that the settings of your pacemaker are correct.
Expect to Feel Some Discomfort at the Incision Site
After you return home from the hospital, you may experience some pain, tenderness, and inflammation at the surgical implantation site. There’s no need to panic, though—this is perfectly normal. For the next couple of weeks, this discomfort should be mild and over-the-counter meds like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) can help with pain relief. Make sure to talk to your doctor before you take any pain medications.
Take Care of Your Incision Site
Your surgeon will most likely give you some post-op instructions to follow in the days and weeks after your surgery. Some of them may be tips on how to take care of the surgical site. You need to make sure to keep the surgical site dry. Do not scrub around it. You may be directed to not shower for a few days. Your incision site may have Steri-strips, or small tape strips, covering the wound area. Your surgeon will let you know when to remove them (approximately 3 weeks after surgery). There is no need to use a Band-Aid to cover the incision site, but you should not apply any ointments, creams, or lotions on it.
Monitor Your Insertion Site for Infection
Make sure to look at your incision on a daily basis to ensure that it’s healing well. If you see or experience the following, contact your doctor, as these may be signs of a surgical site infection:
- Redness, warmth, or swelling around the incision site
- A body temperature higher than 101°F (38.4°C)
- Your incision starts to widen
- The insertion site shows an increase in oozing, bleeding, or draining
- You feel an increase in pain or pain relievers are not working
Take It Easy
You will need to ease yourself back into your normal activities. Your cardiologist will most likely advise you to avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting or straining, and manual labor for a minimum of one month. Your doctor will let you know when you can resume more vigorous activities.
During the first week after your surgery, you may move your arms normally, but make sure you don’t keep them above your shoulders for more than a few minutes at a time. If you feel tired after any activity, you should stop. Do try to walk a
s much as you can, but you should avoid driving for at the first week post-op. Your doctor will let you know when you can resume driving.
You’ll need to avoid close and prolonged contact with electrical devices that have strong magnetic fields (e.g., cell phones, metal detectors, microwaves) since they can interfere with your pacemaker’s electrical system, causing it to work improperly.
One way to ensure that your pacemaker surgery recovery goes well is by using BODHE Therapeutic Medical Apparel. This innovative apparel can help to prevent infection on your insertion site as well as comfortably protect your pacemaker. You can use this apparel even after your surgical site has healed.