You will be tested to see if the pump will lower your pain. Pain medicine will be injected into the area around your spine one or more times. In some tests, a catheter may be placed in the area around your spine. The catheter is then connected to a pump outside of the body. The test will also let the doctor find the right place for the pump and dose of medicine.
A small cut will be made in the middle of the back. The catheter is placed in a space near the spinal cord. It's then secured with stitches. X-rays are used to make sure the catheter is in the right place. The catheter is run from the spine to the belly where the pump is placed. The catheter is under the skin.
The belly is opened with a small cut. The pump is put in place below the waistline. The pump will sit in a pocket that is made between the skin and muscles. The catheter will be attached to the pump. The pump is secured. The cuts are closed and bandaged.
You will be taken to a recovery area. Your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing will be watched. The staff also will watch for :
Anesthesia will keep you pain free. After the procedure, it can be controlled with medicines.
To help you get better faster:
Take care of the wound to prevent infection.
Follow any limits on your activities.
Your healthcare team will teach you how to use your medicines safely.
You will need to carry an Implanted Device identification card because the pump will set off metal detectors. The battery in your pump will need to be replaced every 5 to 7 years. You will need to go for regular visits to your doctor to have the pump reservoir refilled with medicine at regular intervals.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
Redness, swelling, pain, or pus draining from the wounds
Fever or chills
Pain you can't control with the medicines you were given
Sudden back pain
Loss of bowel or bladder function
Headache lasting longer than 48 hours
Beeping noises from pump
New leg weakness and spasm
New numbness or tingling
Nausea or vomiting
Cough, breathing problems, or chest pain
Side effects from the medicines
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Intrathecal drug pump. Mayfield Brain & Spine website. Available at: http://www.mayfieldclinic.com/PE-PUMP.htm. Updated April 2016. Accessed August 23, 2018.
Intrathecal drug pump implant. UPMC website. Available at: http://www.upmc.com/Services/neurosurgery/spine/treatment/pain-management/Pages/intrathecal-pump.aspx. Accessed August 23, 2018.
Knight KH, Brand FM. Implantable intrathecal pumps for chronic pain: highlights and updates. Croat Med J. 2007;48(1):22-34.
Last reviewed May 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 8/23/2018
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