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Implantable Drug Delivery Systems and Infusion Pumps

Before, During and After: How Does It Work?

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Updated September 18, 2008

Interested in an implantable drug pump? This article looks at the things to consider before you get the implant, how the implant surgery process works, and things to keep in mind after you get the implant. Let's take a look:

Things to Consider Before You Get a Drug Implant

Determining whether an implantable drug pump will be a good pain management option for you is a complex process. It requires a team of specialists and a thorough evaluation of your state of health. If you have not gone through all of your other options such as conservative care or back surgery, you cannot be considered for this controversial treatment, which is somewhat of a last-resort option.

Read: Is the Implantable Drug Pump a Good Fit for You?

Reasons You May Not Be Able to Get an Implant

There are some medical and other conditions that will prevent you from having a drug pump implanted. If you are prone to mental health problems, for example, your team of specialists will most likely rule out the implantable drug pump treatment in your case. This is because researchers have determined that mental health disorders lend themselves to unsuccessful outcomes with this particular pain management therapy.

Also, if you're not capable of making many repeat doctors visits after the surgery, you may not be a good candidate. Ask your doctor or other provider specific questions about your health issues and the infusion pump. This list will give you general information as to the safety of the drug pump with certain conditions -- is yours on it?

Info to Help You Evaluate if the Drug Pump is Right for You

The Trial Procedure

A permanent drug pump cannot be implanted unless a trial is done first. Depending upon your health and condition, the trial can last up to two weeks. The purpose of the trial is to help your doctor determine if you respond well to pain management with a drug pump, and to begin to estimate the amount of medication to put in the pump.

Read: More About the Drug Pump Trial

Making the Transition from Oral Medication
The goal of infusion pump pain management therapy is to get you off oral medications. The biggest benefit to this is the reduction or elimination of side effects such as constipation or addiction. But will you be expected to go without pain medications while you are being implanted? That is between you and your doctor. Ask about her plan to manage any withdrawal symptoms you may experience during this time. Your doctor may be able to give you a short-acting oral pain med for break through pain. After the procedure, the medication from the pump will begin to kick in, but you will still need a follow up visit for a dosage adjustment.

See Page Two for information on how the surgery works:

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  5. Implantable Drug Delivery Systems and Infusion Pumps - Considering a Drug Pump Implant for Back Pain

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