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Intrathecal drug delivery (pain pump)

Intrathecal drug delivery uses a surgically implanted pain pump to treat chronic intractable pain.

The pump is usually placed in the low back or abdominal wall, and a thin piece of tubing known as a catheter continuously delivers medication from the pump to the intrathecal space (the areas surrounding the spinal cord).

An intrathecal pump is used to treat pain caused by cancer, neuropathic pain, failed back surgery syndrome, intractable low back pain, complex regional pain syndrome, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, somatic and visceral pain.

Common medications used to treat pain via intrathecal delivery include bupivacaine, morphine and ziconotide. Intrathecal drug delivery can also deliver a medication called baclofen, which treats spasticity.

Patients being considered for intrathecal drug delivery often undergo a trial where a single dose of the medication in question is injected into the intrathecal space to determine if the pain is adequately relieved. If the patient’s pain is adequately and appropriately relieved, the patient can then take the next step and have the pump and catheter surgically implanted.

For a brief educational video, click the link below:

https://www.spine-health.com/video/intrathecal-pump-implant-video

The link to this video is for educational purposes only. See disclaimer.

  • Video disclaimer

    The links to the videos on this page are for informational purposes only. The video content is not intended to be professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The links will take you to Veritas Health content. Veritas Health publishes educational health information to help patients better understand symptoms, conditions, and a variety of treatment options. Their content is authored by expert health professionals but does not reflect the opinions of UK HealthCare or our providers. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health. Reliance on the content is solely at your own risk.