What you Should Know About Intrathecal Pumps

Updated on January 27, 2020

If you or a person close to you suffers from chronic pain, you have probably heard about intrathecal pumps and wondered how they work and whether they are effective. Simply put, an intrathecal pump is a device that is surgically placed under the abdominal skin with the aim of pumping small amounts of pain medication to the spinal cord through a catheter. Although, this chronic pain management technique has proven effective in many cases and is one of the advanced pain management approaches used by pain specialists at the American Interventional Pain Institute, it is associated with several drawbacks. Below are some important things that you should know about intrathecal pump systems before you consider trying them.

Ideal Candidate

Like any other pain management technique, intrathecal pumps are not for everyone with pain. This pain management option is for people who:

  • Have unsuccessfully tried all other more conservative pain management techniques
  • Cannot benefit from additional surgical procedures
  • Are totally dependent on pain medication
  • Do not suffer from psychological issues
  • Do not have medical conditions that would prevent them from undergoing the implantation procedure
  • Are not allergic to the pain medication administered by the pump
  • Have positively responded to the trial dose medication

An intrathecal pump is helpful for people suffering from chronic pain resulting from a number of causes, including cancer, arachnoiditis, chronic pancreatitis, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, and failed back surgery syndrome. A pump can also help in reducing spasticity caused by brain injury, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, stroke, or cerebral palsy.

Benefits of Intrathecal Pumps

There are many benefits that are associated with the use of intrathecal pumps to manage pain. For instance, they can reduce or even eliminate the need for taking oral pain medication. Therefore, they are a more convenient pain management option. Since the pain medication will now be pumped directly to the spinal cord, the dosage is reduced, and therefore, if the pain medication has any side-effects, they also get reduced. Another benefit of intrathecal pumps is that they are not permanent. This means that they can be removed or turned off at a later date.

Risks of Intrathecal Pumps

Despite the great benefits that are associated with these devices, they are not perfect. Therefore, they are associated with a number of risks. For instance, implanting the device is a surgical process and therefore, involves the risk of surgical complications such as spinal fluid leaks or even infections. However, these complications are very rare. Other risks include inflammation around the catheter and even malfunctioning of the pump.

The Bottom Line

Overall, it is apparent that if you are suffering from chronic pain and more conservative pain management techniques have failed to provide relief, then intrathecal pumps are an option that you can consider. If you are looking for a reliable pain management specialist offering intrathecal pumps in Greenacres, FL, American Interventional Pain Institute is an excellent facility to consider. Feel free to contact or visit them today for more information about the services that they offer.

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