• Home
  • Intrathecal Pump Implantation



Intrathecal Pump Implantation

An intrathecal pump or a “pain pump” is a device that delivers small quantities of pain medication such as morphine or baclofen, directly to the spinal fluid. When delivered in small doses, pain medications may minimize the side effects often experienced with larger oral doses of the same medications.

A pump can lessen the pain associated with failed back surgery, cancer, or nerve pain. It can also reduce spasticity, or muscle rigidity, in patients with:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury

A trial intrathecal injection or a temporary intrathecal pump is usually performed to determine whether the medication is effective and a permanent pump is appropriate.

The intrathecal pump itself consists of a metal pump that stores and delivers the medication, and a catheter that delivers the medication to the space around the spinal cord. The pump can be programmed to slowly release the medication over a period of time, or to deliver the medication at different times of the day.

CONTACT US TODAY

To implant the device, our Pain Management Providers will make a small incision in the back to place the catheter in the affected area of the spine. Then an extension catheter is passed under the skin from the spine around the torso to the abdomen where the actual pump is implanted.

The implanted pump and catheter are surgically placed under the skin. Surgical complications are possible and include infection, spinal fluid leak, and headache. You should not undergo the implant procedure if you have an active infection at the time scheduled for implant.

Once the infusion system is implanted, device complications may occur which may require surgery to resolve. Drug overdose or underdose can result because of these complications and have serious and even life-threatening adverse effects. Possible complications include the catheter or pump moving within the body or wearing through the skin. The catheter could leak, tear, kink, or become disconnected. The pump could stop because the battery has run out or because of failure of another part of the infusion system. Additionally, inflammatory masses have been reported at the tip of the catheter which may lead to complications, including paralysis.

Drug delivery therapy offers a number of potential benefits, including:

  • Effective pain relief
  • Reduced or eliminated use of pain medication
  • Reduced side effects compared with oral medication
  • Improved ability to function and participate in everyday activities
  • High patient satisfaction

In addition, this treatment:

  • Has been proven to be safe and effective when used as directed
  • Does not involve permanent changes to the spinal cord or nerves
  • Can be customized by varying the dosage to accommodate your needs at different times of the day/night or week
  • Lets you try the therapy for a short period of time before committing to long-term therapy
  • Is reversible—the therapy can be turned off, or if desired, it can be surgically removed

Are you ready to stop living life in pain?