Intrathecal Pain Pump Implant

Intrathecal Pain Pump Implant | Comprehensive Pain Management Center

Intrathecal Pain Pump Implant

An intrathecal pain pump implant relieves chronic pain.  It uses small amounts of medicine applied directly into the intrathecal space (the area surrounding the spinal cord) to prevent pain signals from being perceived by the brain.  Pump candidates include people for whom conservative treatments and/or surgery have failed and further surgery is not likely to help.

After local anesthetic is administered, a catheter is inserted through a needle or small incision into the intrathecal space. This catheter is connected to a temporary pump. It will be used for several days to determine if the system will help the patient.

If pain decreased during the trial period, a permanent system may be implanted.

Permanent Implantation

The second procedure is usually performed while the patient is under general anesthesia.  A permanent catheter is implanted through a needle or incision and connected to a pump also implanted under the skin, usually in the abdomen or back.  The pump’s battery may last three to five years, after which a new pump is implanted.

The amount of medication dispensed by the pump is programmed with an external unit.  Regular visits to the doctor are needed to refill the pump, anywhere from 1-3 months.

After surgery, patients may experience mild discomfort and swelling at the incision sites for several days.  Over time, the intrathecal catheter may move or become damaged from strenuous activity and require repositioning or replacement.


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