Intrathecal Pain Pump Insertion

Intrathecal pain pump insertion is a procedure to help with pain management. A small pump will be inserted in your body. The pump will be able to deliver pain medication to the area around your spinal cord.

  • Call Your Doctor

    After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Redness, swelling, pain, or discharge around the incision site
    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Pain that is not controlled with pain medications
    • Sudden back pain
    • Loss of bowel or bladder function
    • Headache lasting longer than 48 hours
    • Beeping noises from pump
    • Sudden onset of leg weakness and spasm
    • New numbness or tingling
    • Nausea and/or vomiting
    • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain

    Opioid withdrawal symptoms may include:

    • Rapid breathing
    • Sweating
    • Runny nose
    • Agitation
    • Increased heart rate
    • Fever
    • Tremors
    • Twitching or aching muscles
    • Loss of appetite
    • Abdominal cramps or diarrhea

    If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    Intrathecal pain pump insertion is a procedure to help with pain management. A small pump will be inserted in your body. The pump will be able to deliver pain medication to the area around your spinal cord.

  • What to Expect

    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 5-7 years. You will need to go for regular visits to your doctor to have the pump reservoir refilled with medication at regular intervals.

  • Reasons for Procedure

    This pain management technique is often only used if noninvasive pain management has failed or has negative side effects.

    An intrathecal pain pump can be used to manage long-term pain problems caused by:

    • Failed back or neck surgery
    • Compression fractures
    • Phantom limb pain
    • Cancer
    • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
    • Complex regional pain syndrome
      (CRPS)
    • Arachnoiditis—inflammation of a space around the spinal cord

    • Chronic
      pancreatitis

    Many people have a significant reduction in pain and are better able to function in daily life after having an intrathecal pain pump insertion.

    Compression Fracture
    Compression fracture lumbar
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  • Possible Complications

    Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems like:

    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Spinal headaches
    • Catheter tube becomes blocked and stops working
    • Side effects from the pain medication
    • Pump-related complications
    • Nerve injury

    Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

    • Psychological problems
    • Active infection
    • Allergy or intolerance to the pain medication or materials being used
    • Bleeding disorders, concurrent anticoagulation therapy