Intrathecal Morphine or Baclophen Pumps

An intrathecal pain pump is a medical device that delivers certain medicines directly into the spinal cord. These morphine pumps can help alleviate severe pain and baclophen pumps assist with spasticity treatment. The pump is surgically implanted subcutaneously in the abdomen and has a catheter that takes the medication to the spinal area. The pump can be programmed to release certain amounts of medicine at intervals throughout the day. Your doctor is able to monitor the prescription through the pump's electronic memory system and can adjust it accordingly. When the pump reservoir empties, it can be refilled using a syringe. Because this method takes the drug directly to the cerebrospinal fluid and the source of the pain, smaller doses are required than if the medication were to be administered orally.

A general anaesthetic is administered to the patient and the surgical sites (back and stomach) are shaved and sterilised for the procedure. A small incision is made in the skin on your back so that the lamina is exposed. The catheter is placed in the intrathecal space and secured with stitches. The catheter is subcutaneously extended around the body to the site on the abdomen where the pump will be implanted. An incision is then made in the abdomen. The pump is implanted into a small pocket that the surgeon creates between the skin and the muscles. The catheter is attached to the pump before the incisions are sutured closed. A dressing will be placed over the wounds.

This procedure requires a trial period before surgery to determine whether the intrathecal pump implant will be beneficial for the patient. The trial involves having injections of intrathecal medications through a lumbar puncture or catheter.


Dr MJD Jacobsohn qualified in 2007 at the University of Cape Town. He then completed an AO spinal fellowship at the Spinal Unit of Groote Schuur Hospital. He started full time private practice at Mediclinic Vergelegen in 2009 when he joined the established practice of Dr LS Wessels as his associate. A comprehensive range of cranial and spinal neurosurgical pathology are managed by Dr Jacobsohn.


physical address Block 2, Room 9, Mediclinic Vergelegen, Main Road, Somerset West, 7130

telephone number Tel: +27 (0)21 840 7002