A pain pump is a device surgically implanted which delivers pain medication directly to the fluid around the spinal cord, or intrathecal space, through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter. This interrupts pain signals traveling through the spinal cord. Pain signals which normally travel to the brain are lessened and pain relief is perceived.
Placement of a pain pump can be performed in an outpatient setting or in the hospital. The implantation of the device is done with local anesthesia and sedation. After a sterile scrub, local anesthesia is used to numb the needle entry location. Once the area is numb, a larger needle and catheter are placed into the intrathecal space using fluoroscopy (x-ray guidance).
Once the catheter is in the proper location, the pump is then connected and placed under the skin on the lower part of your abdomen. The catheter and pump are tunneled under your skin and all wounds are surgically closed.
The medication reservoir in the pump is refilled periodically (every four to six weeks) by your pain physician by injecting the medication through your skin into the pump.
The entire procedure typically takes one to two hours and may be performed on an outpatient or in-patient basis.
At Oklahoma Pain Center, we do not implant the permanent device inside you. Instead, we perform the trial procedure to determine if and how effectively this therapy will help you and maintain the medication in pumps which have already been implanted. During the trial procedure, medication is injected directly into the intrathecal space. If pain relief is adequate, we will refer you to have a pain pump permanently placed. After a pump has been implanted, we will refill the medication in it as needed.