Intrathecal drug delivery or pain pump is a process of transferring medications directly to your vertebral column, the process is based on a small pump surgically placed beneath the layers of skin of your belly, the purpose of Intrathecal drug pump is to deliver the medication through a slim tube to the area around the spinal cord. The pain pump is recommended if all the other traditional methods have failed to relieve your chronic pain, as the medication is directly pumped into the area surrounding the spinal cord the pain can be controlled with the least amount of dosage as compared to the oral medication
The fundamental aim of the Intrathecal drug pump therapy is to eliminate chronic pain and reduce the intake of medications, hence minimizing the related side effects
What is an Intrathecal drug pump?
The spinal cord is surrounded by a space called the Intrathecal space, the Intrathecal space is filled with a fluid called Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which flows through this area protecting and rinsing and cushioning your brain and the vertebral column.
The Intrathecal drug pump therapy gives potential relief from pain than oral medicine, as the Intrathecal drug pump delivers medications directly into the CSF. In fact the dosage needed by the pump is 1/300 as compared to the oral medications
The pump is a metallic device round in shape about the size of a hockey puck, the pain pump is surgically inserted under the skin of your abdomen along with a small plastic tube called the catheter, that leads to Intrathecal space. The pump has a space inside that contains the medicine
The pump is organized to slowly release the medications over a period of time, it can also be programmed to release the medications at different times of the day depending on the needs of the patient
Also the information on the prescription is stored in the memory of the pump which can be easily reviewed by the doctor. The reservoir is easily filled up by inserting a needle through your skin also the pump is easily removable whenever required
Who is a candidate?
The candidates for Intrathecal drug pump therapy might be meeting the following criteria;
- All the other traditional therapies have failed
- Surgery might not be an answer
- You take painkillers for a long time
- No other medical conditions prevent you from undergoing implantation
- You are not allergic to any drugs used in the Intrathecal pump
- A trial dose of medication has been effective
A pump can help lessen chronic pain caused by;
- Failed back surgery syndrome
- Cancer pain
- Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
- Chronic abdominal pain
- Brain injury
- Spinal cord injury