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No Worries!
Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 225
   Posted 10/28/2011 9:22 PM (GMT -6)   

Does anyone know anything about the Intrathecal Drug Pump? I'm scheduled to begin the test phase on November 8th.

I will have a temporary catheter surgically implanted in my spinal cord, then I will be admitted in the hospital where I will be closely monitored while they try different pain meds and doses. I will stay in the hospital starting on that Tuesday until at least Friday. From what I understand, the pain medicine is delivered directly to my spinal cord fluid, which shoots straight to the brain and I have instant pain relief with just a small fraction of the pain meds I'm currently on! What this does is help tremendously reduce the side effects from all the narcotics I'm on.

The kicker is that for one it's very expensive and the Drug Pump is implanted in my body for the rest of my life. The battery lasts just 5 to 7 years and so I will have to keep having surgery to replace the Pump, which costs around $25,000.00 to $40,000.00! That doesn't include the other surgical costs. Also, every 3 months or so I will need to have a refill of medicine injected through me and into the catheter/pump. By the way, the catheter can sometimes break or slip/move, which will require another surgery. Also, if the Pump stops working suddenly I will suffer horrible withdrawal symptoms until it gets fixed or I get a fix, lol. Oh yeah, the Pump can also malfunction and cause me to have an OD of the pain meds.

I know it sounds like the Pros are not worth the Cons, but I can't continue living with both the pain and the side effects. Anyways, that's what I know about the device... I'm interested in what you think about the Pump? Do you or anyone you know have the Drug Pump? Please let me know what you think...maybe I've managed to educate someone about this treatment option and they are going to check it out???

*** FYI: Next Monday I am having an Interstim Therapy permanent implant! It's a neurostimulator for the bladder and it helps control my urinary voiding issues. I wish I had it many years ago! Except for the pain waking me up, I can finally sleep the whole night without needing to void 2+ times each night. Of course this means that I will have two implants, if the Drug Pump works. I'm going to be a real Bionic Man!

Thanks for our feedback and advice.


Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16796
   Posted 10/29/2011 10:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello Charles, I am sorry to read that you are having such a hard time with your pain. Yes, I have a pump, mine was implanted back in 2005 and I have done very well with it and not experience any of the problems you have written about. Have you had your psych eval yet? If you live in the states you will have to undergo a psych evaluation prior to having the pump implanted if the trial is considered a success.

I have a wonderful PM dr that knows these pumps like the back of her hand and that is very important when having one of these. Your dr can either make your pump a success or a failure, depending on how much knowledge they have about the pumps and the medications used in them.

Prior to having the pump implanted I had very little quality life, now its much better and I am able to do some of the things I use to be able to do. The pump does not take away all of your pain, you will still have pain and will need BT meds. My usage of BT meds depends entirely on my activity level. Most of the time I do not need them My pump is refilled every month which is no big deal, my dr says the medication loses its potency while sitting in that small little space and I believe her on that one. So far everyone that I know that has a pump has not had problems, they have pretty much rocked on like me.

I do urge you to go to Medtronics.com and read about the pumps and educate yourself somewhat better. They have an excellent website with lots of information. Also, you can use the search feature here at the forum and type in pain pumps and you will find lots of info there too.

If you are needing specific information please feel free to email me your questions as I would rather not use up good space here repeating myself. I would be more than happy to answer any question I possibly can. Also if you email me please put soemthing in the heading like I am from Healing Well, I am one of those that deletes messages if she does not know who sent it, lol.

Personally speaking, if this were me I would not consider having the pump put in or even doing the trial until I go my head on right about the whole thing. Thats half the battle. I was quite shocked when my prior PM dr recommended it to me and I told him no right then. He said thats ok in 3 months time you will be back here begging me to implant this pump, it was less than 3 months I was back in his office discussing doing the trial. By the way, when I did the trial and woke up, I thought I had died & gone to heaven, I had no pain. It had been so long since I had been without pain.

Again, if I can help in any way let me know.
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