The Benefits of a Pain Pump Procedure
With an intrathecal pain pump, medication is distributed directly to the spinal cord. Medicating the pain receptors near the spine interrupts signals to the pain, improving the perception of pain.
In the initial stage of the procedure, the patient is put under local or general anesthesia. A narrow tube or catheter is placed into the fluid filled area surrounding the spinal cord known as the intrathecal space. A little pump is implanted in the front portion of the body, usually on the stomach, and the pump and catheter are connected.
Medication is injected into the pump by the doctor, then sent from the pump to the catheter. Morphine is one medication commonly used with a pain pump. The doctor will refill the reservoir in the pump with medication using an injection on a monthly basis. The pumps may be set up so that individual preferences may be considered in regards to timing the release of the prescribed medication. The option for round-the-clock medication is an immense advantage of using the pain pump.
More than one medicine may be used in the pump if necessary. This may include an opioid (such as morphine) or non-opioid pain medications, like Prialt, to treat pain. Medication such as baclofen may be used in some cases to reduce spasticity.
By targeting the release of medication, a substantially lower dose can be utilized, minimizing side effects. Though pain pumps may not be able to eliminate pain completely, they may offer pain relief that allows improved daily functioning. Many patients are able to reduce their dependence on other medication while using pain pumps.