Targeted Drug Delivery with a Spinal Pain Pump
Over the three past decades, Nura physicians have used implantable pain pumps to treat the most complex chronic pain patients who fail to respond to more conservative measures.
The intrathecal pain pump provides “targeted drug delivery” to the spinal cord to provide chronic pain relief and because the medication is applied directly to spinal cord pain receptors, the brain is left free of drug effects.
With spinal delivery of opioids, the pain pump minimizes the side effects sometimes experienced by patients who take pain pills orally or by skin patch. Side effects such as sleepiness, mental clouding and the potential for addiction are significantly reduced, while pain relief is optimized.
Targeted Drug Delivery Process
While many chronic pain patients have had success with pain pump implantation, spinal drug delivery is not for everyone. A trial will be done first to determine if the intrathecal pain pump would be effective at relieving your pain. If you achieve a good level of pain relief (50 percent or greater) during the trial of targeted drug delivery, you may be a candidate for the permanent implant of a pain pump.
View this video to learn how a spinal pump works.
The intrathecal pump implant is a round, metal device connected to a spinal catheter. The catheter is a thin tube that runs from the pump and into the spinal canal where it delivers medication to the spinal cord. Typically, the pain pump is implanted in the upper buttock region or the abdominal area. The pain pump is programmed to deliver medication directly to the spinal cord, which is the major pathway for pain signals. Applying medication directly to the spine via the pain pump provides powerful pain management and relief with very small doses by blocking pain impulses at the spinal level.
Specially trained staff refill the pump by placing a needle through anesthetized skin into the pump refill port. Refills occur on average every 1-3 months depending on drug doses required for pain relief.
Nura also provides a Home Infusion Service for patients who prefer to have their pain pumps refilled at home.
Although uncommon, risks include infection, bleeding, itching, difficulty urinating, nausea, discomfort, drainage or swelling at the surgical site, spinal headache, swelling in the extremities, weakness or numbness or system failure from a pump motor stall or disconnected, occluded or migrated catheter.
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