What are the Side Effects of an Intrathecal Pain Pump?

What are the Side Effects of an Intrathecal Pain Pump?

You’re tired of living in a world in which chronic pain greets you on a daily basis, preventing you from leading an active and happy life. You’ve tried traditional treatments, yet your pain stubbornly resists your every effort, imprisoning you in a world that’s becoming increasingly smaller. If this sounds at all familiar, it may be time to try an intrathecal pain pump, but you may be worried about the side effects of such a therapy.

At Interventional Pain Center in Worthington and Newark, Ohio, Sachida Manocha, MD, and our team understand all too well how pain can hijack your life, and we want to help you find a solution that’s long on results and short on side effects. As part of our extensive suite of services, we offer intrathecal pain pumps, which, when used properly, deliver effective and safe pain relief.

So that you’re armed with all of the information, here’s a look at some of the potential side effects of intrathecal pain pumps and how we go about avoiding them.

A trial run

An intrathecal pain pump is an implant that delivers pain medication directly into your spinal cord, where it can combat your pain directly. To install the device, we place a catheter into the intrathecal space in your spine, which is connected to a pump that we place in your abdomen.

Before we install your intrathecal pump, however, we conduct a trial run to ensure that delivering the medication directly into your spinal cord will relieve your pain. The aim of the trial run — which could include a single injection of intrathecal medicine, several injections, or a catheter — is to help us determine whether the treatment is effective and at what dosage levels.

Should you respond favorably to the trial run, we can then surgically implant the pump and catheter.

Potential side effects of the surgery

When we use the word “surgery,” we assure you that, in the case of intrathecal pump placement, the procedure is relatively straightforward, though there’s always the potential for side effects after any surgery. For example, to place the pump, we need to make a 4- to 6-inch incision in your abdomen, so you should expect some mild discomfort in this area while the wound heals.

Rest assured, these side effects are mostly short-lived, and we provide you with complete aftercare instructions that are designed to help you heal quickly.

It’s about the medicine

After your surgical procedure, there are relatively few reported side effects of the intrathecal pain pump itself. When there are side effects, it’s usually because of the medications themselves, which is why the FDA recommends only using medications that are approved for the device.

At our practice, we follow these guidelines to the letter, and we would never use any medication that isn’t cleared for the pump.

In fact, using an intrathecal pain pump properly may relieve many of the side effects that you may have encountered when taking medications orally, because we’re able to use a fraction of what you took in pill form.

Pump failure

While there’s potential for pump failure, we use only the latest products that are proven to provide long-lasting service. Should the pump fail, for any reason, the side effect is typically that you don’t receive the medication, in which case we can remedy the problem by installing a new pump. Again, this happens only very rarely.

Another cause of pump failure is lack of battery power, but your pump comes with an alert system that tells you when the battery is running low.

While no treatment is completely risk-free, we can say that we’ve helped scores of patients finally find relief from their pain with an intrathecal pain pump. If you’d like to explore whether this device is right for you, book an appointment online or over the phone with Interventional Pain Center today.

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