An intrathecal drug pump is a medication administration device which delivers medicine directly into the Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This is more effective than oral administration, as it is delivered directly into the afflicted area rather than being metabolized through digestion beforehand. Therefore, much less medication is necessary, usually a fraction of the amount of around one three-hundredth.

What does the procedure look like?

The pump is a round metal device, surgically implanted beneath the skin of your abdomen. A catheter is surgically placed in the subarachnoid or intrathecal space of the spine and connected to the pump. A reservoir in the pump holds the medication, which is administered through the catheter and to intrathecal space. The pump can be programmed to administer a specific amount of medication, and at what times the medication is released. When the pump is low on medication, a physician will use a needle to refill the device. This procedure is easily reversed.

The procedure generally takes three to four hours to complete, and the patient is administered narcotics for pain management afterward.

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