Chronic pain can be relieved through the use of a intrathecal pump implant. A small amount of medication will be applied directly to the pain site to prevent pain signals from traveling to the brain. If conservative or non-invasive procedures have failed, the intrathecal pumps may be an option to help relieve chronic pain.
A numbing agent is applied to the area and a needle is used to insert a catheter into the intratecal space. A pump will be connected temporarily to the catheter. After several days of use a doctor can determine if this treatment will help the pain level to decrease. If pain decreases during this period of time, a permanent system could be used.
The permanent system is usually performed under general anesthesia. The temporary system is removed and replaced with the permanent system.
The pump is placed under the skin of the abdomen with a catheter connected to the pump. The pump has a battery that should last 3 – 5 years without issues. Once the battery is depleted a new system will be inserted.
An external unit is used to set the amount of medication given by the implant. Doctor visits will be needed to refill the medication in the unit.
Side effects may include small discomfort or swelling at the pump site for a few days. Repositioning may be required after a period of time if the catheter moves.