Intrathecal drug delivery (IDD), or pain pumps, involves the injection of pain medications into your cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The CSF surrounds your spinal cord, which is rich in pain receptors. By delivering medication to these receptors directly, a small amount of pain medication is able to have a large effect, in this way not only is pain relief superior, but the side-effects of high oral doses of pain medications are avoided.
Intrathecal drug delivery is an advanced option for use when other measures are not providing adequate relief of your pain. We start with a trial period where a catheter is placed into the spinal fluid through a small needle in an outpatient clinic setting under x-ray guidance.
Some benefits of treating chronic pain with a pain pump include:
Trial placement is similar to other injections and usually takes no more than 30 minutes.
In general, patients are encouraged to reduce the amount of pain medications by at least 50% leading up to the day of the trial. You should talk to your physician and make a plan of action on how to decrease the dosages of your short acting and long acting pain medications before the trial.
During the trial an external pump will be hooked to the spinal catheter to deliver small amounts of pain medication into your spinal fluid.
Pump trials usually last 2 to 3 days, however they can be stopped early if you quickly notice improved pain relief.
If your trial was a success your physician will begin the process of scheduling you for outpatient surgery to have a system implanted.