An intrathecal pump is a targeted drug delivery method used to relieve chronic pain. The implantation delivers small amounts of medication directly to the area surrounding the spinal cord (intrathecal space) to prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. The direct delivery of the medication lets patients have a smaller dose than would be necessary with oral medication, as well as mitigating common side effects such as sleepiness, nausea, and constipation.
Patients are considered a candidate if more conservative methods such as oral medication are not working and surgery has either failed or is not a viable option. A trial is first done to determine if the pump is the best choice for your pain management. If you feel sufficient pain relief (50% or more) then you may proceed with the permanent pump.
For the trial, a catheter is inserted using a needle into the intrathecal space. The doctor is guided by fluoroscopy, or live x ray imaging, to ensure that the needle reaches the right spot. If the trial goes well, the permanent pump is inserted in a follow up surgery, where the pump is implanted under the skin in the abdomen. The pump’s battery may last 3-5 years and will be replaced as necessary. Additionally, follow up visits with the doctor are routine. https://www.apmhealth.com/treatments-offered/intrathecal-pump-implant#vm_A_acfc1376