Medtronic, Inc. is the company that manufactures both the spinal cord stimulator and the intrathecal pump. They are so involved that representatives from their companies will often be present during surgeries to implant the devices.
The pump is used to deliver medications constantly directly to the spinal cord. Often called simply the "morphine pump," it is adapted to each patient's individual needs and tolerances from a wide array of medications and combinations are tried to find the right choice for each patient. Often morphine is not used at all.
Medtronics offers two types of pumps. The SynchroMed® pump is a battery-operated device. although the battery is a long-life one, when it wears out, the pump has to be surgically removed and replaced. If you hear an alarm, contact your doctor immediately to have your pump checked to see if the pump needs to be replaced.
Deciding which is right for you is a decision made among you, your doctor, and the available technology.
The IsoMed® pump is powered by an inert gas and does not have a battery to wear out.
Possible complications include infection at the point of insertion and with the catheter. These could result in the need for surgery to replace or repair the catheter. If the catheter is torn, blocked or damaged it will need to be replaced or repaired; if it becomes disconnected from the area where it's implanted, surgery will be necessary to reposition it.
Knowing where the pump is and where the catheter is placed is essential for exercise and normal movement. Discuss any exercise program with your doctor so you do not irritate the pump or catheter.
The Medtronic SynchroMed® Infusion System has been commercially available in the U.S. since 1988. The SynchroMed EL has been available since 1999. The IsoMed Infusion System was commercially released in 2000.
The pump may sometimes be visible depending on your body type and the clothes you wear. The most effective place for the pump is near the surface right under the skin of the abdomen so be prepared to wear suffient clothes to cover it.
Medtronic's alternative drug-free pain treatment is neurostimulation. A neurostimulator is implanted under the skin and a flexible metal wire is threaded under the skin to a tiny lead which sends electro-signals to the brain in a rhythmic pattern that overrides the pain signals.
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