Understanding Intrathecal Pump Therapy


Intrathecal drug transmission or pain pump is a means of giving medicines directly into your spinal cord. The method relies upon a small supply or pump that is placed by a small incision under the skin of your belly. The pump transfer a medicine by means of a tube to the region around your spinal cord. The Intrathecal pump which is commonly known as the pain pump is recommended in case of all the other traditional treatments have failed to comfort your chronic symptoms. As the medicine is directly transmitted to your vertebral column, it is noticed that the pain is much governed by taking a small dose as compared to the oral medicine taken. The objective of the Intrathecal pump is to reduce the intake of oral medicines and their side effects

Knowing Intrathecal Drug Pump

The spinal cord is surrounded by a fluid filled space which is called the Intrathecal space. The fluid is called the cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) which flows through this area soaking and cushioning your brain and the spinal cord. The Intrathecal drug pump is more effective than oral medications as it bypasses the path that oral medications take and transfers the medicine directly into the CSF. Considerably you need to take 1/300 the amount of medicine with the pump than the oral medicine

What does the pump seem?

The Intrathecal pump is a spherical metal gadget about the size of the hockey puck, the pump is placed under the skin of your abdomen, whereas the catheter (a small tube) is fixed in the Intrathecal space and connected to the pain pump. The pump holds the medicine in a space called reservoirs

How does the pump function?

The pump is set up to slowly release the medicines over a period of time. It can also be set up to deliver different amounts of medicines at different times of the day depending on the need of the patients. The pump has the ability to store information on your prescription in its memory which can be easily reviewed by the doctor by means of the programmer. The Intrathecal pump is refillable and can be easily refilled by inserting a needle into the skin. Moreover the therapy is completely reversible. You can get your Intrathecal pump removed

A pump can help lessen chronic pain caused by:

  • Failed back surgery syndrome
  • Cancer pain:
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy:
  • Causalgia
  • Arachnoiditis
  • Chronic Pancreatitis

What are the risks?

As with all surgeries there is risk of infections and bleeding. However,  the Intrathecal pump therapy brings minimal side effects. In rare cases the catheter could move upwards and blocks are sometimes the CSF can leak causing watery discharge from your incisions and headaches.

Side effects from the medications may include respiratory problems, muscle spasm, constipation, nausea, anxiety and urinary tract infection