An intrathecal pain pump implant is an implanted medical device that delivers opioid medication to the patient. Often, the intrathecal pump implantation is in the upper buttock region or the abdominal area. The intrathecal pain pump implant is programmed to deliver medication directly to the spinal cord, which is the major pathway for pain signals. Applying medication directly to the spine via the pain pump implant provides powerful pain management and relief with very small doses by blocking pain impulses at the spinal level.
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.
While countless pain management patients have had success with this intrathecal pump implantation method of pain management and relief, intrathecal drug delivery is not for everyone. A trial will be done first to determine if intrathecal pain 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 intrathecal pump implantation. Although uncommon, 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.