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Medtronic pain pump

Renos64RRenos64 Posts: 77
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Pain Management
Hello all,

I am a time not seen on this forum, since I had a hard time after my second revision surgery due to a non-fusion L4L5, pseudo-artrosis.
I am still suffering on a lot of pain in my back and left leg/foot. The fusion is after 16 months not complete, since a cap of 3/4" have to be filled. My NS told me to have patient and that bone-grow will proceed with time, but important to stimulate better bone grow is exercise and force on the spine. But as you all know, that is just problem; how many pain can you handle?

So 2 years ago I have got a Medtronic Synclomed II pain pump implanted. It just worked for me well for 4 weeks, then the pain breaked through again. Couldnt lower my oral meds. Diagnose: tolerance for Morphine. Now I am 1,7 mg/d and it does nothing at all. To handle the pain, I use still 150 mg oral Morphine and Lyrica. My dokter dont want to go further then 2,0 mg/d, so I dont think this will work for me.
For the start I have the pump, I have never had a good experience with it; When I have implanted it, the next days were terrible, I was so sick. Then months dizzy and hardly now pain releave, and couldnt reduce my oral Morphine.
I am now for the choise of 1. dose to max. 2,0 mg/d and leave all oral meds or 2. reduce to dose of the pump to zero, remove the pump and then optimize and change to an other opiate. Difficult decision but going through like this is also no choice.

My question to others with experience of pain pump:
What is your dose where you have a good result in pain reduction?
What is the maximum dose you doctor will go to?
How is your general experience with the pump?

Thank you for all the infomation you want to share.




  • Is there any reason they not puting diferent meds in the pump like deuladid or something else even like fentynal or something that works beter? I only had the trial for the pain pump and i had spinal leak for the full 7 days of the trial . It was worse feeling then surgery. So i give up on it.
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Hi Alex,
    No they never try different meds in the pump. My doctor only want to use morphine. I have ask him about the other meds, but he was not interessed. I have never had any good experience with this pump, so I want to get rid of it now. I am fed up with it. Also because beside the pump I also have use oral meds, so it make no sense to keep the pump. Every 3 months I have to fill it, and the idea that some strange machine is in your body is scarry. And as you know a machine can fail anytime.
    Sorry for the negative tune.
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  • Well to worry about the pump or strange object in your body they prepare you for before its put in. That should not be an issue anymore once you agreed to get it implanted. But if i had it put in and went through the surgery part of it already i would make all use of it before i would have it removed. People i talked to who have it have diferent medications they use along with not just the morphine.

    From my understanding they can add something for nerve pain and cramps and you name it they can now give it in thepump just like what you would get in the hospital in the iv".

    Oraly these medications dont work anywhere near as good as it should with the pump giving it directly in to the spinal fluid. If you not geting releif with meds from the pump then taking same medication oraly would give you zero releif. Even more so. You could over worry about it posibly failing but hopefuly worst thing that would hapen is it stoped the morphine drip. But you prety much knew that part goin in to this with the pump.

    You already went through the hardest part of this procedure having it put in and having that thing taped in to your spinal fluid which is the worst part because of the posible leak and posible infection and posible rejection from your body. Once your body accepts it and it grows in there and no way any longer it can have a leak cause its in there for good you should be set to go wth all the trial and error of medications to help that oraly usualy can never be acomplished. I would just hate to see you have it removed and be sorry you did later in time.

    The pump might still be in my future to come because i know my pain is never going to get beter here so with nerve damage i am just on borrowed time here.

    I would think even just not refilling it if you want to take a break from it i would think is ok and is ok to just leave it in for now. You have the same risk now having it removed as you did having it put in.

    I met a lady at the dr office who had the nerve stimulater implanted and she stoped using it but she said she no longer needs it but they never removed it cause its not causing any issues and she is fine with it. And i guess it works to her benefit cause if she needed it again they would just start it up again.

    So all i am sugesting is Are you sure you want it out knowing they have not tried using anything other then morphine for the pain when morphine might not be what you need. There is even a guy here on sh who had snake venum used in his pain pump. Is it posible you finaly survived the worst part of the surgery of the rejection and infection and spinal leak that can hapen after its put in and now that its finaly settled in there its just the matter of finding the right combo of meds to use in it? I just hate to see you jump the gun having it removed after all the trouble you went through to get it in for the purpose of beter quality of life.
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Thanks for your long view. I will overthink again...
  • I have to agree 100% with Alex!! Very well said and thought out. I was happy to read you are thinking about giving the pump a second chance.

    It is not the pain pump you are unhappy with but the medication being used in the pump.

    I have diladuid in my pump and am very happy with it.

    Morphine can upset your tummy.....make you itch and dry your mouth out. I can't take it for these reasons and it does not work as well as diladuid.

    All Doctors start you out on morphine unless you know you can't take it but will switch you to something else if it does not work for you.

    I think I have said all I need to say about my pain pump in my comment "pain pump implant" so will not add anyting more here.

    Please do not give up yet. Give other medications a chance. It just may be the very best thing you can do for yourself.

    Keep us updated. Very best to you.
    Patsy W :H
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  • We dont have the answer to everything but i can very easy put myself in renos position. Thats why i just thought what i would do. I noticed in my years of dealing with medical issues such as my dad having liver transplant and so on. I find it easier steping back and looking at someone elses situation sometimes then my own.

    I think its because we get so frustrated with our own medical situation when things are not going rite that its hard to make the right decisions for ourself at times. I sometimes wish i did not have to make the decisions for myself because its frustrating as hell. Should i do this or should i do that. Is it worth giving the pain pump another try hell i dont know.

    Pat. Right now i am still making sure i guess that i have no other options and posibly monday after seeing another neuro will help me deciding what my next move is. I dont like the idea of having to live with a morphine pump as the next person but if thats where i end up before going crazy from this pain then thats what it will be anyways,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Alex,you make a lot of sense.

    You said during your seven-day intrathecal trial, you had a CSF leak. What did your doctor do to try to stop the leak?

    (I was out of town last week, so I did not read your posts until today.)

  • Alex,you make a lot of sense.

    You said during your seven-day intrathecal trial, you had a CSF leak. What did your doctor do to try to stop the leak?

    (I was out of town last week, so I did not read your posts until today.)

  • I agree with Patsy that perhaps one option is to try another pump med like Dilaudid, Fentanyl, Prialt or combine it with Baclofen for severe spasms.

    I also experienced those dreadful spinal headaches as a side effect and had to go to the hospital to have a blood patch procedure done. Believe me, after you deal with a spinal headache, you can handle anything.

    I became allergice to Morphine and had to start all over again by doing a Dilaudid trial. Since that went well, I had my surgery and currently am on 5.1mg daily. I also take Oxycodone for BT pain and other meds listed below.

    I prefer the pump over a oral medication like Oxycontin which I once was taking to manage my chronic pain. I feel it works better. I still am in pain but at least I'm not in my bed 24/7 and I feel it has worked out for me. Take care
  • My trial yes i had leak , i ended up in er about the 5th day after the meds they called in for me did not help . Er called my dr he talked to me on the phone asked if i can just hang on and see it might stop. Well what was i going to do if he refuses to have someone in er do a blood patch. I was sent home with some sort of cafeen pills for the head ache laying down in the back seat all the way home. 2 days later trial was already over and i was happy to just have it pulled out cause even after it was out i still had a leak.

    So had to go back again when finaly blood patch was done. This is what made me change pain drs for i felt it was his neglect that caused this trial to fail.
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
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