pain pump migration/movement/tilting? anyone had a pain pump placed in hip/buttock area?

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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/6/2010 3:17 PM (GMT -6)   
hello. i posted here a few months back about symptoms i had after a pain pump was implanted. come to find out i was under-medicated from being detoxed off the oral medications i'd taken prior to surgery too quickly. it sucked! i have total empathy for all who have medication dependency/or addiction issues and can't get help! my quick detox resulted in hospitalization to treat all the other symptoms and illnesses that resulted. dehydration was the easy part. :)

i'm back today because my pain pump is tilting forward to the point of almost turning all the way over. i have a very short waist and had spoke with my pain specialist in advance about my concerns re: placement. i spoke to a rep from the co that supplies the specific device i have (medtronic) and was told that it should not move this much and to call my dr immediately. i called immediately and was told by the refill nurse that medtronic could not say if i had problem that needed immediate attention, only the dr could. i told her i wasn't concerned about turf wars, however, i was needing accurate and timely info on what my pain pump was doing. i explained i had worn the binder as suggested, that i have to constantly reach down and hold the pump down, or tilt it back... blah blah blah. end result: an appointment has been made and she said i will most likely need surgery to replace it, move it, or revise it... i don't want it in my belly as it migrated up near my ribs and it's very uncomfortable there. here are my questions:

can anyone here tell me if it's true that pain pumps are most often implanted within a mesh bag?
has anyone here had one migrate as mine did that first, and now it's doing the tilt dance.
does anyone have a pump placed in the hip/buttock area and if so how has that worked out for you?
has anyone simply not done well with the pump healing in place?
(i do remember the dr stating he did not place it so that it was attached either to or under muscles as "it would take longer to heal")

i wish i could simply type in "pain pump placement" on the search engines and find answers. i searched the medtronic site and found no info on placement in the butttock/hip area.

if it were tilting a little it would be no big deal, but having to grab it to make it not flip isn't realistic. sitting down can make it tile forward 3/4 of the way.

are medication dose increases needed frequently? i'm on morophine only with the pump itself. i do have the ability to dose myself up to four times a day if needed via the pain pump. thanks in advance.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13363
   Posted 3/7/2010 6:16 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lynn,
Wow, I cannot imagine a pump doing what yours is doing. I will be honest I have never heard of one doing that. Really makes me wonder if it was implanted properly to begin with. All I know is they started implanting them higher up in the stomach because of people wearing say tight jeans and caused their pump to flip over, then they could manually flip it back. My pump is set off to the side above belt line. I too am very short waisted.
I had heard after my surgery about the mesh bags and no I do not have one, nor did I wear a binder either. I would be surprised to learn of them implanting one in the buttock area mainly because of sitting or if you took a spill or something like that. Don't think I would want one implanted there at all, for me it would be a major problem. I also wonder if it would be a problem with the catheter too.
As far as the increased dosing when the pumps are first implanted they do start you out at the lowest dose and titrate up accordingly. Usually the increases take place every two weeks till they get you where you should be. The goal is pain control with the least amount of medication. We do take much less in the pumps as what we took orally. I may remember you posting about your dr taking you off of all meds before implant time, and thats just barbaric. My dr did no such thing with me or even try to reduce the meds. I don't understand why a dr would do this to a patient, that is just nuts. Other than the dr may not be very well educated in medications too, that could be the reason. I am so sorry to hear what you got put through, thats not right.
i am sorry I am of no help you on this problem. I hope you can find something out, perhaps put in a call to Medtronics they should know this info. Take care and let us know what you find out.


crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & psoriasis and psoratic arthritis. Several other health issues just not enough room to list it all. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 17 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.

Post Edited (straydog) : 3/7/2010 4:34:45 AM (GMT-7)

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/7/2010 5:53 PM (GMT -6)   
hi, straydog. finally a reply! i can't count the times i climbed out of bed to look to see if anyone had info for me yesterday after posting about my pain pump problems. thanks for taking the time to share...

as for my pain pump-- i did post prior about not knowing what was going on with the crazy symptoms i was having post-surgery. the pain specialist took me off too many medications, or decreased the amounts and added others all at once and i simply did not do well. i kept dealing with the side effects for several weeks, during which time i called into the office and asked for help and was told to take more or less of varying medicines until i about screamed at the staff for the continued different attempts to "help" me without seeing me in the office. when i finally passed out on the floor, family and friends got me to the ER and once there i do remember it taking over two and a half hours just to get an iv line in. i remember trying to tell them i was an old portacath patient and my veins were tiny and to please use a ped-neonatal butterfly to hit a vein-- it's what was used to knock me out for the pain pump surgery. i get very tired of people not listening to me about my veins being worn down. the portacath was taken out after four years when i had been hospitalized for almost six weeks and upon discharge ended up with a septic pump and it went into my blood. seven months later i finally got well and them pump had been removed the first week my blood turned septic. one dr accused me of accessing my own portacath and using iv drugs! then my specialist contacted him and let him know i'd had over 140 punctures into the portacath while hospitalized and encouraged him to review my records. in the end i spent five months on home iv's with the iv implanted into my jugular. enough of that complaining...

the reason i asked about the pump placement in the hip/high buttock area is i was told patients who are short waisted often require it being placed there. i do see very good specialists and think that years of needing daily doses of pred. at high dosages wore my immune system down and i simply don't heal well or quickly. i am glad i was re-hospitalized as i as too darn sick to be home and dehydration had lasted weeks, along with the other detox symptoms. by the time i got to the hospital i was sicker than i'd been aware... you know how sometimes you get so used to feeling crappy that you dont realize you are at a new level of crappy? that's where i was, and the people around me were so used to me being sick that they did not realize i was as sick as i was.

the pain pump helps my pain to a point that i appreciate having it. i don't want to have to lose it simply because of placement issues, but i can not live with it this way. every few minutes i have to reach and grab it so it does not flip. i do have an appointment scheduled a week from tomorrow. even with all this going on, i am trying to go on a two hr drive to the ocean with my spouse in order to have time away for the first time in several years. i have been in too much pain to travel. i know i should deal with this right now, but i truly do not want to miss the chance to lay at the ocean and listen to the waves and read a book even if it requires more oral pain medicine to make it thru and not being able to go down to the water BEFORE i have surgery again and go thru the healing process. my spouse is concerned and keeps saying we can give the rented house to someone else to use but i'm not wanting to lose out on a break even if it's only being sick somewhere else. before the pump was put in i could not travel in the car more than ten minutes before sitting made me cry. literally.

in speaking with the nurse specialist who works with the pain specialist i see, she was concerned by my choice but we went thru the steps to make sure my pump is still working. she also knows i can be flown back if need be. i know it may sound nuts to take a risk of the pump stopping working but i've lived with pain so long and not gotten to do anything that i cant imagine my spouse having to give up the only trip we have planned and hoped for after this amount of time AND needing to care for me after without us at least trying to go. make any sense?

the nurse also was clear this time that the pump will need to be revised. i dont know if that means moved, or moved down... i dont know what it means period. i wish my pump could be placed to my side but there is simply not enough room between my ribs and hip area for it to fit without bumping as far as i can tell. i know the dr made errors in taking me off medications so quickly and he and i talked about it. i let him know what i experienced and he said i was the first patient he had who undertook medicine instead of overtaking medications. i smile typing this as i come from a family where addiction has been an issue and i've never chosen that route for myself. i'd rather hurt more than abuse pain medicines. dont want to take the risk. i know i'd feel better if the pump were stable as i do get scared sometimes about the movement and the cath bending or twisting or dislodging. i dont mean to sound selfish but i really am angry that i will have to have another surgery. this will make my 20th surgery in 17 years... i'm grateful for being able to get help but i wish the help would understand the stress of undergoing so many surgeries in a life time. i'm only fifty and i know i'll have to face many more and it has led me to dislike being in the hospital to the point that i delay going till i can't stand waiting longer. delaying what i know will need to be done gives me a bit of a sense of control- tad bit crazy but at least i feel some sense of control over my body this way.

the nurse also told me that they have a handful of patients with the pumps in the fatty area of the hip/upper buttock area due to being unable to find good placement in the stomach. talk later.

Stella Marie
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 601
   Posted 3/10/2010 10:00 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello Lyn,
I am sorry that I did not see your posting sooner.  I have a pump and a stimulator.  I have both of them impanted in my abdomen.  One is on the right and the other is on the left.  I was told that if you sit, lay in bed, or use a wheelchair the buttock location is bad. 
Like Straydog (Suzie) I have also heard about the mesh bag thing.  I think I read about it on the Pumpsters Yahoo site.  I am not sure.  My pump is not implanted in a mesh bag.  I have had no problem with either my pump or my stimulator moving.  I just have to becare about waitbands and bending over.  The is really the only time I notice them.
When either device was impanted, it was always done as same day surgery.  So I went home that night.  The hospital did not give me a binder.  But, I had read that many times binders were used.  I did have my husband go purchase one at the local DME store.  I found it to be very helpful.  I was definately more comfortable and felt the wound site was more secure with the binder.  It was also easier to sit up and stand up with the binder on.  I did not feel any pressure at the incision site.  I would highly recommend using one.  If the hospital does not provide it, just purchase one at your local medical suppply store.
The only other place where you can obtain quite a bit of information about pumps is on the Yahoo Pumpster website.  It is a forum like this.  You have to be approved to join and it sometimes takes a week or two.  They are very careful that you are who you say you are.  They do have quite a few files and stored information regarding all types of pump and stimulator related situtations.
Good luck and let us know what happens.

Stella Marie 

Chronic Pain Forum Moderator

Progressive neurodegenerative disease called Multiple System Atroph;  muscle spasms, muscle pain, neuropathy  & neuropathic pain, central sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and 2 pain implants – an  intrathecal pain medication pump and an SCS (spinal cord stimulator).  Extra fun little toys and gadgets; O2 generator and assorted wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and orthotic braces.  Meds - too many too list or even care about!



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