Welcome to the forum! I have a Medtronic intrathecal pump. Pumps are very complicated and because they are so individual, it is hard to answer your question. As you are probably aware, if you and your doctor decide a pump is right for you, you will be required to have a psychological exam and to participate in a trial with an external pump first. A temporary catheter will be placed in the intrathecal area in your spine while you are under light sedation and then hooked up to an external pump. You will stay several days in the hospital and various medications will be trialed. The test is considered positive if you achieve a determined reduction in your pain. Pumps are usually implanted in abdomen, just under the skin, so they can be accessed in the port externally for refills. Pumps require refilling at different times, depending on what meds you have in them. Many pain management doctors are slow to titrate pump medications to an effective level right after surgery. For many patients, it takes several months – even up to one year to achieve pain control, so don’t expect immediate pain relief. It is important that you question your doctor as to how he handles break through pain. Some doctors will provide oral medications, while others feel that all pain control should come from the pump. This is a very important issue for many patients. It is also important that you select a doctor that you have easy access too. You will need to visit his or her office for all refills, titrations or changes in your medications or medication rates. Make sure you have a excellent relationship with the doctor implanting your pump. You will it a difficult to change doctors once you have a pump, as many doctors refuse taking on new patients that have had pumps implanted by other doctors. Once you have a pump implanted, you will need to be careful about bending, lifting and twisting. Any of these can cause kinks or dislodgement of the catheter. You will also need to give up anything that could potentially increase your body temperature like: hot bathes, hot tubs, electric blankets, tanning beds, and certain ultrasound physical therapy treatments like ultrasound heat therapy. Increased body temperature can cause the medication be released from the pump at an uncontrolled rate. Filling pumps is very expensive, so make sure that you have good insurance and can afford the refills. Each refill can cost up into the $1000’s and if you lose your insurance, no one is going to refill your pump for free. There are all kinds of medications that can be placed in the pump and in all kinds of combinations. Many are familiar meds, while other are anesthesia’s and other types of medications that are not available is oral form so they would be different that the ones you have previously tried. Most people have a reduction in side effects, as less medication is needed, almost 1/100th of the usual oral dose. Talk to as many people as you can and good luck in you decision. If you have any other questions, please don't be afraid to ask. Now is the times to ask.
Dx: Rare progressive neurodegenerative disease called Multiple System Atrophy (brain rot, autonomic system failure, neuropathic pain and a whole lot more). Added improvements: Intrathecal pump and a spinal cord stimulator..
Medications: Sinemet, Requip, Klonopin, Baclofen, Provigil, Lyrica, Fentanyl patches, Lidoderm patches, Dilaudid, Fentora and Zofran