A pacemaker is implanted to treat bradycardia (an abnormally slow heart rate). Pacemakers can also adjust the heart rate to meet the body's needs, whether during exercise or rest. Implantation of a pacemaker involves positioning leads (thin, insulated wires) in the heart and placing the device in a pocket of skin, usually in the shoulder area. Typically the implant procedure involves only local anesthetics and a sedative, rather than general anesthesia. Most people have a fairly quick recovery after a pacemaker implant.