Pain Pump Trial, Implant, and Maintenance
The Intrathecal Drug Delivery System consists of a pump implanted underneath the skin that delivers medication directly to the spinal fluid through a small flexible catheter. The pain pump is the size of a hockey puck and typically implanted in the abdomen. The catheter is thin, flexible, and about the size of angel hair pasta. The catheter is implanted through an incision in the back and then tunneled underneath the skin to the pump reservoir. The pain pump can be precisely programmed using numerous different settings and combinations of medication to manage a patient’s specific pain. The main advantage of the Intrathecal Drug Delivery System is that the medication is administered directly into the spinal fluid. This avoids oral medications which many patients find aren’t effective over the long run or associated with unacceptable side effects. Delivering the medication directly to the spinal fluid avoids systemic side effects from oral medications and allows pain to be controlled at a fraction of the oral equivalent dose. Typical candidates for intrathecal drug delivery have failed more conservative therapies, would not benefit from additional surgery, and do not have underlying medical or psychiatric problems that would prevent a successful outcome. Patients who benefit from pain pumps most commonly suffer from pain after multiple surgeries such as failed back surgery syndrome or post-laminectomy syndrome; severe nerve pain such as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, or arachnoiditis; or cancer pain. Intrathecal Drug Delivery Systems can also be used to deliver baclofen to help manage severe muscle rigidity or spasticity from cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, or spinal cord injury.