An intrathecal pain pump implantation, or targeted drug delivery, is used to relieve chronic pain. The intrathecal pain pump implantation delivers small amounts of medication directly to the intrathecal space (area surrounding the spinal cord) to prevent pain signals from being perceived by the brain. Because the medication is delivered directly to where pain signals travel, intrathecal drug delivery offers many people dramatic pain management, with a dose smaller than would be required with oral medication. This result in fewer side effects associated with oral medication, such as sleepiness, upset stomach, vomiting and constipation.
This intrathecal pain pump implantation method also minimizes the side effects sometimes experienced by pain management patients who take these medications orally. With intrathecal pump implantation, mental and physical side effects like sleepiness, mental clouding and the potential for addiction are significantly reduced, while pain management and relief is optimized and preserved.
The intrathecal pump implant is a round, metal device connected to the spine via a catheter. This thin tube is placed in the intrathecal space of the spinal cord (located under the spine’s protective covering) and used to deliver medication from the pump to the spine. The intrathecal pump implant is programmed to send medication to the spine at a predetermined dosage, time and rate. The intrathecal pump implant is easily refilled by injection.
A trial will be done first to determine if intrathecal pump implantation would work for your pain management. If you achieve a good level of pain relief (50 percent or greater) you may be a candidate for a permanent pump.
Although uncommon, intrathecal pump implantation risks include infection, bleeding, itching, difficulty urinating, nausea, discomfort, drainage or swelling at the surgical site, severe headache, swelling in the extremities, increased pain, weakness or numbness or a disconnected catheter.