What’s an IT Pump?

An Intrathecal Pump (or IT Pump) refers to a medical device that Doctors implant into a patient’s spine, in order to inject medication directly into the spinal column with relative ease. Injecting medications directly into the spine allows for greater pain relief and fewer side effects than medications taken orally. Physicians usually prescribe an IT Pump to patients suffering from complex or prolonged pain such as Chemotherapy patients or patients suffering from post-laminectomy syndrome.

How Does An IT Pump Work?

An IT pump consists of a small reservoir or programmable device that holds the medication, a catheter that is placed in the intrathecal space, and a programmable pump mechanism that controls the delivery of the medication. The pump is typically implanted under the skin in the abdominal or buttock area, and the catheter is threaded through the spinal canal to the desired location. The procedure for implanting an IT pump is performed by a surgeon under local or general anesthesia.

What Are The Benefits Of An IT Pump?

IT pumps offer several potential benefits, including improved pain control, reduced systemic side effects compared to oral medications, and improved quality of life for individuals with chronic pain or other conditions. However, it’s important to note that IT pumps are not suitable for everyone and require careful patient selection and ongoing management. They are generally considered for individuals who have failed conservative treatments, have specific pain conditions amenable to intrathecal drug delivery, and have a good overall health status.

IT pumps can provide effective pain relief and medication therapy for selected individuals with chronic pain or certain medical conditions. However, the decision to pursue an IT pump should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional, such as a pain management specialist or neurosurgeon, who can evaluate the individual’s specific condition and determine if this treatment option is appropriate.


  • Targeted Delivery: Medication is delivered directly to the spinal cord, reducing the need for high doses that might be required with oral medications.
  • Reduced Systemic Side Effects: Because the medication bypasses the digestive system and bloodstream, there are fewer systemic side effects.
  • Improved Pain Management: Intrathecal pumps can provide more consistent pain relief compared to oral medications.


  • Intrathecal pump implantation is a surgical procedure that requires careful patient selection and medical evaluation.
  • Regular monitoring and follow-up visits are necessary to ensure the device is functioning properly and the medication dose is optimized.
  • Potential complications include infection, catheter displacement, device malfunction, and adverse reactions to the medication.

If you’re considering an intrathecal pump for pain management or another medical condition, it’s important to thoroughly discuss it with your healthcare provider. They can assess whether this treatment is appropriate for your situation, explain the benefits and risks, and guide you through decision-making.


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