UT Medicine's pain specialists are experts in diagnosing and managing chronic pain. They develop customized treatment plans according to each patient’s specific needs. When conservative pain management methods have failed to work, a pain pump or spinal cord stimulator may be recommended. Spinal pumps can also be used to treat difficult muscle spasticity in patients with neurologic injury or disease.
Spinal pumps, also known as intrathecal drug delivery devices, are placed beneath the skin of the abdomen. Similar to the size of a hockey puck, spinal pumps work by storing and releasing a prescribed amount of pain medication through a slender tube to the spinal nerves. The pump is refilled as needed by our pain specialists.
Spinal cord stimulator devices are placed beneath the skin of the flank area, on your side between ribs and hip. The spinal cord stimulator battery is similar to a pacemaker. The device manages pain by distributing regular electric impulses which interrupt the nervous system’s natural impulses. The frequency, strength and location of the stimulator’s electrical impulses can be precisely controlled through programming or handheld devices. Spinal cord stimulators are most often used to treat refractory low back, leg, neck or arm pain.
Temporary pump or stimulator systems are tried in the clinic before a decision is made for permanent implantation. We perform permanent implantation during an outpatient surgical procedure or overnight surgical stay.
Many of our patients have had success using spinal cord pumps and stimulators as an alternative to undergoing major back surgery.
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Call 210-450-9850 to make an appointment.