Pain Pumps A Procedure for Treating Chronic Pain

A pain pump, otherwise known as an intrathecal drug delivery pump, is a type of surgical procedure used to directly inject medication to the area around your spinal cord by using a small pump that is placed under the skin of the abdomen.  The pump delivers medication through a catheter or a small tube, similar to the way a woman in labor receives an epidural during childbirth.

What Is A Pain Pump (Drug Pump)?

A pain pump is a small, round device that is surgically implanted under the skin.  The pump is about the size of a deck of cards and administers medication to the spine via a small plastic tube known as a catheter.  A pain pump comes with a reservoir that holds the medication.  It can be programmed to slowly release medication throughout the day so the patient can rely on a steady supply of drugs to reduce pain symptoms.

Benefits of Pain Pumps

Pain pumps can be used as a treatment option if other conventional methods to relieve chronic pain have failed.  Symptoms of chronic pain are easier to control as the medication is delivered directly to the area in need; therefore, medication can be administered in a much smaller amount than oral medication.  A pain pump is designed to reduce side effects of oral medications by reducing the amount needed to control symptoms.

Pain pumps are easily monitored and refilled by a doctor.  The pump stores a patient’s prescription in its memory and is refilled through the insertion of a needle into the skin to fill the reservoir.  Pain pumps are 100% reversible if the patient should ever need to have it removed.

Conditions Pain Pumps Can Help

Pain pumps are well suited for patients who have not had success with traditional forms of therapy.  It would also be beneficial for patients who are reliant on pain medication, are not well suited for additional surgeries, have no history of pending medical conditions that would interfere with the pump, and are not allergic to the types of medication utilized.

Pain pumps can be used to treat cancer pain or pain caused by tumors that press down on the spine.  Patients with failed back surgery syndrome, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, chronic pancreatitis, and arachnoiditis (painful scarring of the protective layers of the spine) may also benefit from a pain pump.  A pump may also be able to reduce spasms caused by stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis.

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Mayfield Clinic
Spine Universe