Baclofen Pump Implant
Severe spasticity can come about as a result of traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and stroke. Further, diseases such as cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis can cause spasticity in certain patients. For many, spasticity can be mitigated using pills and periodic injections. While this is the first course of action, many patients with more severe spasticity will not get the relief they expect. Further, over time, oral medications may become less effective.
For those patients that are suffering from more severe spasticity, there is an effective treatment option called a baclofen pump, which delivers targeted doses of the muscle relaxer to assist patients in minimizing the worst of their symptoms. The pump itself is implanted in the abdomen while the drug is delivered to the intrathecal space in the spine. Unlike medications and injections, the baclofen pump delivers the drug directly into the spinal cord. This often means smaller doses and fewer side effects versus oral or injectable versions of the medication.
The implantation process is straightforward and requires a relatively short time in the operating room. The procedure itself is low risk and the biggest considerations revolve around the proper function of the pump after implantation. There is a small risk of the device malfunctioning and patients will be fully apprised of how to ensure their pump is in good working order.
Our treatment team will be able to regulate the pump’s dosage and timing based on the patient’s reaction to the medication and degree of relief from symptoms. Every 30-90 days, patients will have to return to the office for a medication refill. This is a good opportunity to discuss the effectiveness of treatment and any adjustments that may be necessary.
While the baclofen pump may not eliminate all of the symptoms of spasticity, it can be an effective alternative when more conservative options simply do not work. It is also important to note that the baclofen pump will not cure the underlying disease, just improve symptoms.
To learn more about a baclofen pump for severe spasticity, we encourage you to contact our practice.