1 (edited by peony Fri, 13 Jul 2012 19:33:22)

Topic: Does anyone have a surgically implanted drug pump?

My husband is in a lot of pain and has had his medication increased numerous times.  Today the pain specialist suggested implanting a pump to deliver the medication directly to the fluid around the spinal cord providing relief with a fraction of medication needed orally.  In theory this sounds great but I'm concerned about the procedure. 

Does anyone have this implant?


Re: Does anyone have a surgically implanted drug pump?

It is not uncommon to have epidural  or spinal pain pump with marcaine, dilaudid , mophine and clonidine or the combination of it.
A short paragraph copied below for your info about the procedure.

"Anesthesiologists, neurosurgeons, and other doctors who specialize in spine disorders implant the pump. Surgery is performed as an outpatient. It is a two-part process and usually takes three to four hours. You will have anesthesia during the procedure. Most patients are discharged to home the same day as the procedure.

The catheter or small plastic tubing is inserted into the intrathecal space through a small incision near the spine and secured there. Careful placement of the catheter is important as the medication is only beneficial if placed in the area surrounding the spinal cord, the intrathecal space. Once the catheter is in place, an extension catheter is threaded under the skin around to your abdomen where the pump will be implanted.

Next your surgeon makes a four to six inch incision in the side of your abdomen, below the waistline. The pump is then inserted between the skin and muscle layers. The catheter is then attached to the pump. Medication is then allowed to flow from the device through the tubing.

Positioning of the catheter is checked with fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique using a continuous X-ray beam that is passed through the body part being examined. You are placed between the X-ray beam and a fluorescent screen. The image is transmitted to a TV-like monitor so that live video images can be played. This allows the physician to watch the procedure he/she is performing to ensure proper placement of the catheter. It also allows them to check and make sure the medication from the pump is delivered correctly."
A much detailed and longer version for you in the following link.if you do not mind the graphics.


God bless.

Please know that my personal opinion is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. If  provided, information are for educational purposes.Consult doctor is a MUST for changing of treatment plans.

Re: Does anyone have a surgically implanted drug pump?

Dear Peony,  I have known someone that had one and it worked well. Your doctor must think your husband is well enough to implant one. I have also known people to have medication pumped in via a pic line and the pump sits around your waist in a fanny pack (or while lying down you can hang it on a pole). I had one before but it was to pump antibiotics in me after I went septic.
Did your husband ever have radiation to his spine mets? My husband had spine mets and radiation helped with the pain (though it took a couple of months). I feel for you and your husband; it is so hard to be in so much pain and to see someone in such pain. Sending lots of positive thoughts and hugs for a pain free solution! Nancy

Loving my husband from afar.

Re: Does anyone have a surgically implanted drug pump?

Thank you Percy.

Thanks Nancy.
Yes he has had radiation to his spine in 2 areas and it helped for awhile but he now has multiple rib fractures and additional tumors in the omentum.

hope you are coping well and I'm happy to see your still on the website.


Re: Does anyone have a surgically implanted drug pump?

Hi Peony,  Doug had multiple rib fractures too. The drug he found most helpful with the least side effects was hydromorphone.  He also took naturopathic support which he felt helped a lot. I hope the implant goes well and it works. It would be so nice for you two to be able to enjoy life again. Sending more positive thoughts and hugs. Nancy
P.S. I am doing okay. It is a journey; not one I had planned but one I need to take. It is a long and winding road full of obstacles but also full of love. I have gone from a day at a time to a week at a time to a month at a time, so I guess that is progress. smile

Loving my husband from afar.