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If you need your device removed and/or upgraded, your doctor will consider your personal health issues and the time that the device or lead has been in your body to decide what treatment options are available to you.
Sometimes, leads are left inside the body when they are no longer being used. If your doctor thinks the risk of a lead extraction is greater than the benefit, you and your doctor may decide not to take out the lead.
If your lead has been inside your body for a short time (1-2 years), your doctor may take it out by simply pulling on the lead.
Using special tools, a lead extraction procedure takes out one or more leads from inside the heart. The sheath is placed over the lead and moved into the vein. The sheath is used to separate the lead from the scar tissue that is keeping it in place. There are two common ways to take out a lead:
This is the most popular way for doctors to remove the lead. The leads are taken out through a small cut in the upper chest (subclavian) where the pacemaker or ICD itself is usually taken out.
If the subclavian approach isn’t a good choice for taking out broken or damaged leads, doctors often choose to go in through the femoral vein, which is located in the crease between the thigh and the hip. The lead is taken out through the femoral vein through a small cut in the groin.