If a patients pain is limited to the spine, an intrathecal pump can be used to deliver medication directly to the spinal fluid. This pump can be implanted under the skin in the side of the abdomen. The medication is then delivered directly to the site of the pain, therefore requiring only 1-2% of what would be required orally. This therapy allows the patients to receive their medications without the side effects that accompany them if taken orally. The pump is refilled with medication through a syringe every 4 to 12 weeks and is programmed to deliver specific amounts of medication throughout the day. Physicians can reprogram the amount of medication that flows through the catheter using radio telemetry from a computer. Approximately 65% of patients experience significant pain relief with intrathecal pumps.
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