In March’s first blog, we got into some basics about one of the tools we use to help chronic pain patients at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic, the intrathecal pain pump. This small medical device is implanted and automatically delivers pain medication directly into the intrathecal space surrounding the spinal cord.
Let’s get into this more in this post-vernal equinox blog.
Why is a pain pump better?
Once the pump is implanted, it is programmed to automatically deliver pain medication in slow-release fashion. The advantage is that by delivering the pain directly to the intrathecal space, this bypasses the digestive tract. Pain medication that is ingested loses some of its strength through the digestive tract. Plus, it can lead to constipation and nausea. Since all of the medication is delivered directly to where it is needed, the dosage is lower with the pump.
Would an intrathecal pain pump be right for you?
Dr. Trujillo weighs the need for these pumps on the unique circumstances of every patient. If this seems like a good option, he will perform a trial to see if this method will work. This could involve an injection through a lumbar puncture, or an external pump.
This pump could be good for you if:
- You depend on pain medication for comfort and mobility
- You have no medical conditions that would interfere with the efficiency of the pump
- You have no allergies to the drugs commonly prescribed in pain pump therapy
- Your pain has not improved with conservative therapies
- Trial testing proved effective
How is the pump implanted?
Dr. Trujillo first conducts a trial to see if you’re right for a pain pump. He injects a single shot of medication into the intrathecal space in a simple procedure. This allows him to verify the location of the pain source and to see if the type of medication is right for you. If your pain decreases by at least half, you’re good for a pain pump.
The pump implant procedure takes just 30 minutes to an hour with the patient under general anesthesia. There are three steps:
- A catheter is placed in your back in the spinal space.
- The pump is placed under the skin of your abdomen below the waistline.
- Medication flow is tested once the catheter is connected to the pump, and the pump is then programmed.
If you’re suffering from chronic pain, an intrathecal pain pump could be a good option. Call us at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic Associates, (855) 768-4968, to schedule a consultation with Dr. Trujillo.