Losing weight

Hi, my son is 20 years old has had a pace/difib. since 14 years old. He is now in the best shape of his life. He was not over weight - but had a football player built. You really could not see the pace/difib. before. Now that he has lost weight you really see the square spot. Do other people have it that visible?
Do you cover it? What about in the summer and swimming He is always wearing a tshirt.
Also, when you have the battery changed - do they make the incision on the same line - or do you have another incision spot.
He wants to ask the doctor about getting a tatoo on the spot?
Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas?
Thanks Kathy


battery change

by patriciapeter - 2007-04-19 06:04:11

Hi Kathy, I have to tell you that my pm is very visible. I'm thin and it is located right below the left collar bone and it sticks out a fair amount but part of that is because when they changed the generator in, Dec. 2006, they unexpectedly had to replace a lead. My second incision is lower than my first so I wasn't as lucky as Lenora whose surgeon used the same incision. I agree with Lenora that a tattoo is unwise and definately should be discouraged. I hope all goes well with your son, keep us informed.


by $6Mman - 2007-04-19 07:04:17

Hi Kathy~
I received an implant in Feb 2006. It sits right above my left pec where the whole world can see it! I see it everyday and have mixed feelings about how it looks to me and other times I look right by it. I can understand how your son feels, because I have always been athletic and am a complete sun-worshipping, out there swimming, disc tossing everything in shorts and no shirt kind of guy. I felt uncomfortable last year and came to the determination that I wasn't going to let a scar and a "cell phone" in my chest limit me.
If someone wants to ask, let them, I'll tell 'em like it is without making a big deal about it. I find that it's usually the little ones that are curious.
I realize he is at an age where it is a bigger deal for him than myself. He may just find that his friends look past it.
Why call attention to it with a tattoo? More folks will want to see what that's about than noticing a scar which could be from anything! The bulge is just an "extra muscle" that has allowed him to be where he is!!!
Additionally, the process of getting a tattoo today could be dangerous to the unit whether they use the modern electrical method or the old style of puncture, not to mention the possibilities of infection.
I hope a word of encouragement helps.
Be well

Battery change

by lenora - 2007-04-19 12:04:34

Kathy, the entire pulse generator is replaced, not the battery. I recently had my second pacer implanted and was given the old one to take home. When you actually get a chance to examine one up close you realize there is no way a surgeon could possibly open the case to remove and replace a battery! It's sealed very tightly for a reason, for sterility and so that bodily fluids won't damage the battery. I don't think I'd want my doctor to try to pry mine open! If the pacemaker isn't going to be moved to the opposite side or to the abdomen, the surgeon should be able to use the same incision line again. My first scar was very UGLY but my doctor was able to correct that with the new incision. Why does your son want to get a tatoo over the pacemaker, to hide it? Besides the obvious risks of hepatitis, HIV, infection, and damaging the pacemaker itself, there's also the possibility of scar tissue forming there which would make removal more difficult later. Lenora

opinion only

by queen_beez - 2007-04-20 12:04:58

QUick story. I was diagnosed w/ a brain tumor in 2001. My son was 15 1/2 my daughter was 16 1/2. They had always wanted a tatoo, my answer was always when you get to be an adult then you can do as you please. It was black friday and we went out Christmas shopping as we did every year. With people evrywhere and the commercialism of it all we walked around for 20 minutes and all looked at one another. It was funny when I said to them Are you having any fun. NO ,was the sound said in stereo. I didn't even think I just said "Want to go get a tattoo". You can imagine the looks on their faces. I said a couple of rules. No places that were not able to be covered and the tatto had to have something to do with a bee. That was because it is outr family name. Bies.Anyway, 6 hours later coming home with no presents and telling the story to my husband was efilled with even more laughs. No one could believe I had actually done what I had done. I did it to bond of family for them to see not knowing what was going to happen to our family.or what our futures would hold. It is a story that is told often to their freinds and every time they look at it they remember their Moms illness but the hope of moving on also.I think that the first thing should be talk to his doc to see if its even ok to have the tatto. We all get surgeries after the pm and they may just tell him to take some antibiotics as a precaution. Explain to him as I have staed , the pm ( illness) does not go away even if we choose to hide it with a tattoo.If he still wants one ,I say go for it. We all do things to help ourselves cope with our insecurities. MAke-up ,dying the grey roots, even him losing some weight helps the ego a bit. If him cobering it up w/ a tattoo it what helps him get his confidence back ,so what.I may be something that is "permanent" but in that spot it will not affect his life in the public eye. Be sure he gets something that he will like when he is 25 /35/ Let him think about it for a few weeks and then when he realises that just as the pm is for life so will be the tattoo.Then maybe, go with him and get a little something where not many can see. Haha.
Good luck with whatever you choose.


by auntiesamm - 2007-04-21 03:04:07

Hi Kathy - I understand your son being conscious of his pacemaker as he is young and image in everything to kids.

I would be cautious about a tatoo for the reasons Lenora stated. And, if he had a tatoo over the pacemaker site and later it had to be reopened or revised what would the tatoo look like after a procedure? He could end up with a nondescript blob of colors. As previously stated it would more than likely call more attention to the pacemaker site than if he leaves it alone.

Being young he doesn't think the way we mothers and grandmothers do but remind him that his pacemaker is a great conversation piece and that it is always an opportunity to edcate someone about heart disease/pacemakers.

Have you checked your area for a young persons' cardiac support group? Most hospitals have cardiac groups and some of the larger ones do have groups just for young people. That might help him if he mixes it up with other kids his own age with same or similar issues.

Please let us know what he decides. God bless.



by KathyP - 2007-04-24 07:04:38

Thanks $6Mman for your comments. Because he was only 14 when he got his - which is a time when alot of boys are worried about the look of their bodies - he had a lot of adjusting to do. I was hoping as he got older it would not bother him - hopefully as time goes it will get better for him. I am extremely worried about the tatoo he wanted whether it is on that site or someplace else on his body.

I would also like to thank everyone for their comments this is a great help.

He does not like to talk about it so this is my way of having contact and getting ideas and how others feel about what they are going through.
Thanks again.

I totally Understand

by angellexis - 2007-05-11 09:05:43

Hi Kathy,

I totally understand what your son is going through. I am 23 years old and I had to have a pacemaker put in 2 weeks after graduation from college. I did have one as a kid and at that time they cut your entire chest open to put a pacemaker in so I have scars all down my chest and accross my belly, so when it was taken out at the age of 9 I was extremely self conscious of all my scars...
But I made a decision at the age of 16 that I would not let my scars bother me due to the fact the scars are there for a reason, they saved my life... And I am the most happy person to be a live. The best part though is that you can tell people all the stories you want about the scars, such as shark bites, alligator attacks, or plastic surgery... ahah its quite entertaining to see the look on people's faces.

So when I was told I had to have a pacemaker put back in I freaked out, ohhh noo no more scars but now they do it soo easy that the scar is the size of a dime and yes the square is there but who cares honestly you just have to make peace with the fact that you have a life saving device in you... and I would rather prefer the option of being alive and dealing with the square instead of not being alive..

So I think you son just needs to focus on whats important, instead of how he looks, he should care about how he feels... obviously easier said than done, but just tell him to make up fun stories it helps you get through with curious looks... :)

Have a great day,

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