Intrathecal Baclofen Pump Therapy is indicated for spasticity relief in patients with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy and head injuries. Candidates for this therapy are evaluated in an out-patient setting including an extensive medical history and physical examination. Patients must meet certain criteria before proceeding. A trial injection is performed prior to permanent surgical placement of the actual device to ensure efficacy. The pump, once implanted is refilled thru the skin in regular intervals and can be reprogrammed as needed to optimize results.
What is Baclofen Therapy?
Antispasmotic medication is delivered directly into the spinal fluid by a programmable catheter and pump system. The system consists of two parts: a small soft, plastic tube that is placed in the spinal fluid. Secondly, the pump portion combines a storage component housing a battery and special electronics to deliver the medication through the catheter into the spinal fluid. The pump is implanted under the skin in the abdominal area and can be programmed without additional incisions or surgery.
How It Works
Spasticity is caused by exaggerated reflexes from nerves along the spinal cord. The medication Baclofen mimics a naturally occurring substance in the brain and spinal cord that blocks the nerves that are responsible for the spasms. While Baclofen has been prescribed for many years in an oral form, the programmable pump and catheter system which delivers the drug to the site is a newer and more effective means of Baclofen therapy.
Because the drug is concentrated around the spinal cord where it can work directly on abnormal nerve reflexes, the spinal Baclofen has two advantages over oral medications. First, it is more effective in reducing or even eliminating spasticity. Secondly, it can be given in lower doses avoiding the side effects of the oral form of the medication.
The patient receiving this therapy may enjoy a greatly improved quality of life, reduced spasticity related pain, greater independence, improved prospects for employment and a better self image.
Prospective patients must realize that this therapy does not work for everyone. Appropriate screening is mandatory.
Several physician partners in Pain Management Associates have received specialized training in the implantation and management of this device.