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Intrathecal Pump Surgery --A Success



  • Forgot to add that my PM doc gave me a patient programmer to give myself Bolus doses when needed. They program the information into the pump, which is the frequency of allowed bolus, which is the time in between doses. Also how much medication is given in each dose. This has been an excellent tool in my pain control. This is logged into the pump and at each appointment the doctor can see the time of day I request a dose. Medtronic should make one of these available to each pump patient, if one is needed for bolus along with the continuous infusion rate.
  • That's great to hear! I had mine for a few years and it saved me from being bedridden. Yes I still have pain, and it also comes from other problems that crept up but I'm glad I have a pump. I have Dilaudid and Bupivicaine and I've done well without any side effects. I know one thing doesn't work for all, and outcomes depend on the person and the problems they have. I hope you continue to have a better quality of life.
    Ol' Spiney..Micro-D L4-L5, TLIF L4-S1 -post op central HNP L4-S1,stenosis, retrolisthesis, EF, facet arthropathy, lumbar& cervical DDD. FBSS- Medtronic pain pump & SCS
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  • Your encouragement means a lot!! Knowing you've had such success with your pump is so great to hear. I'm glad to know your quality of life has improved so much. I look back on the Pre-pump years and can see so clearly why I was often depressed and felt at times there was no hope. Life was unbearable many days despite oral medications. I always had an attitude of I can do this yet would end up in tears with unrelenting pain, after trying so hard to be a part of life. I've had spinal pain and more since I was 16---40 years---with the last 10 being the worst. I feel incredibly blessed to have this new lease on life!! Really helps to hear from others who can relate. Thank you for your input!!
  • Wondering how you're doing with pain pump? I get mine implanted on 11/10 with Prialt (fingers crossed)...
  • MetalneckMetalneck The Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,778
    My dumb question.... isn't Prilat a form of salt water snail poison??


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  • I am told it is a synthetic (lab produced) replication of the venom produced by the Cone Snail. It is non-narcotic but it can also have some pretty nasty side effects.
    In my condition (bedridden and constantly hurting) it's worth the risk....as the pan relief (from the trial injection) was pretty thorough and I didn't have any side effects whatsoever.....(if I do experience any bad side effects) it can be stopped immediately unlike opiates which need to be tapered off to prevent withdrawal issues.
    I will post how it all goes!
  • Its been awhile since I've posted here!

    It has been a year and a half since my pain pump was implanted. I am so happy to report that this time has given me excellent pain relief. No complications in any form. As I wrote above, I began with Prialt in the pump. After 2 months I changed to Morphine. Prialt has some very unusual psychiatric side effects which frightened me although I did not experience any of them. 

    I had a negative change in my pain relief which is why I asked for Morphine to be put in. Also, Prialt must be changed every month as the efficacy only lasts that long. To me part of having a pump is convinience. With Morphine, I go for refills every 2-3 months. 

    There is a port in the middle of the front of the pump and the refill is done by putting a needle into the port, withdrawing all old medication, and filling the pump with fresh medication. I am still numb in that area so I dont feel the needle sticks and don't bleed--no band-aid even!!

    1/300 of the amount needed for oral meds is all that is needed for pump dosing. I have had about 3-4 dose increases. I also have a Patient Programmer which allows me to give a bolus dose when pain spikes occur. These are programmed into the pump and recorded when the pump is 'interrogated' at each refill. 

    I've read quite a few pump threads most of which were closed due to them being so old. One person asked about the cosmetic part as she was an actress/model. There was a short amount of time that I had some body image issues, getting used to having the pump. I re-thought my wardrobe choices and no longer felt comfortable in tight tops/T-shirts. 

    Mine is placed in my abdomen to the right, with the top 1/4 under my ribs. It doesn't show with clothes on unless I call attention to it. Had to get some bigger waisted pants, or wear elastic/looser fitting pants. 

    The pump has given me my life back! Seriously. The pain I lived with everday, for decades-- was inhumane. Oral meds did not help enough and I hated the way I felt. In the 1970's it was discovered there are opiate receptors in the intrathecal space where the pump medicine flows. The medication bypasses the liver and is not  systemic. The intrathecal space is a closed system. Therefore, the medication will not be effective on i.e., headaches, joint pain, etc. It is strictly for spinal pain. 

    All my surgeries have been Thoracic so i requested the catheter tips be placed as high as possible. I have severe damage in all sections of my spine but the bulk was always Thoracic. With 12 thoracic levels and an equal number of disc herniations, the pump has taken the largest area of my chronic pain and made it manageable.

    The pump is not a panacea however. There is still pain, some days are better than others. It is important to remember that as good as your pain level may be, the patient must avoid lifting, bending, reaching, stretching. The catheters must remain in place. 

    It takes 3 months for proper scar tissue to form around the pump and catheters to anchor them properly. After surgery, dont bend over to pick anything up--use a 'grabber' to help you out. Don't reach during healing, or twist from side to side. Take it easy and rest. 

    My pump has become such a part of my body now--the only time I am bothered by it is when sleeping on my right side, or when my arms rest on that area. 

    I know everyone is different and requires different pain control methods. I can only speak for myself and I am very glad I got my pump.

    Good luck to FailedBack--Your pump was being put in today!  I'd like to know how it went & how you're recovering. 

    Sorry for the length of this post--I wanted to cover as much as possible.   
  • Nursesrangels - good to hear you are getting such good relief! Did you ever get to do a little work again? Also, you said something about spasms...are you on meds for spasms?

    I actually had a intrathecal baclofen trial a couple of weeks ago, and Wednesday I go in to discuss and find out when the surgery is. I am blessed that I am not *that* painful, although I can't live without NSAID's. I figure if my pain escalated, they can combine (off label I believe?) baclofen and...might be morphine in the pump. Morphine never did anything IV for me, but dilaudid was amazing. I hope I never get to that point, but I'm pretty early on my road.

    I am also hoping my pump allows me to go back to work, but we'll see how much my muscles can start working. I also know it can take months to find the right spot to work for baclofen (darned it! I'm so impatient!).

    Thanks for your story -

    ACDF w/Corpectomy C3-6 12/8/14 ; Laminectomy C3-6  5/19/2016

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,261
    Nurseangels, thank you so much for posting about your success with the pain pump.
    Many of us on this forum are going or have gone through the dilemma of making a decision on the pump. I think you have answered a lot of questions for a lot of us, and, at least for me, thank you very much.
    It's good to hear success stories and I know this has been a blessing for you.
    Good luck and keep taking care of yourself.
    Veritas-Health Moderator
    Please read my  Medical History
  • MikethepikeMMikethepike MIchiganPosts: 657
    Hi. Nurse angels,
    There was a small bump in my back where it had staples, it is gone now,
    Is that where the tubing was attached? I am wondering if something came undone.
    My dr. Is on vacation for a week. I don't se him until. Nov. 23. . Should. I be concerned
    Thanks. And take care
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