What is Intrathecal Pump Implantation?

An Intrathecal Pump is small, about the size of a tuna can and it is implanted under the skin near the abdomen. The pump delivers concentrated amounts of morphine through a catheter directly into the spinal cord. The advantage to the pump is that a much smaller dose of medication is needed and because of the small amount of medication there are less chances of medication side effects. The pump is not for the average patient, you must go through a screening process before you would be considered a candidate for the pump.

The patient receives intravenous sedation and analgesia to make the procedure easy to tolerate. The procedure is an all day procedure and the patient may be kept over night for monitoring and for pump adjustments. The medication in the pump last one to three month’s depending on the pump setting. When the pump starts to run low the patient will come into the office where the pump is refilled by a tiny needle that is placed through the skin and into the pump. The settings on the pump then can be changed electronically.

This procedure is safe. However, with any procedure there are risks, and or side effects. The most common side effect of this procedure is a temporary increase in pain. Fortunately the serious side effects are uncommon.


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