ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

SCI: Spinal Cord Injury -Inthrathecal Baclofen Pump Experience Part 4: Explant

Updated on November 27, 2012


In my documented continuing adventures with my intrathecal baclofen pump, I wanted to provide the lastest updates:

Throughout my journey perhaps the most surprising and unmentioned aspect of having an implanted device is the feeling that you lose control over your life. Meaning, whenever I need a dosage increase, decrease, regardless of what "I" felt I needed, I was at the mercy of the physicians who would only incrementally titrate the levels at a rate they were "comfortable" with. Even more frustrating is the fact that you become chained to the pain management doctor, and every time you wish to see them they require a co-pay so it becomes expensive. There were times I saw the Pain doctor twice a week or more and they required a $20 co-pay for each visit.

The other unmentionable is how even something as routine as an MRI becomes complicated because even though the devices are rated to withstand normal MRI imaging, the imaging facilities will not perform the MRI on you unless you have a pain doctor either standing by to monitor the pump after the MRI, or you have an immediately scheduled appointment at your facility they can verify.

Perhaps one of the most painful and frustrating aspects of having my pump implanted was that the doctor who implanted it put it in my left buttocks. Typically they place them in the abdominal area, but this physician said it would be less noticeable would have a shorter catheter to minimize problems, and would not be that intrusive.


Having the pump in my buttocks caused it continually press on my lower spine nerves which gave me horrendous sciatic pain when sitting, and made laying on my back virtually impossible due to nerve impingement in my lumbar spine. My only choices were to lay on my side or my stomach at night time. The former was made difficult because I have hip joint pain and I can't lay on my stomach because I use a CPAP. So I was in a no-win situation.

After years of struggling with dosage titration and overall frustration with my Baclofen pump I opted to have it shut off around August 2011.

Due to scheduling, life, moving/etc I was not able to have it explanted (removed) until last week (Nov 16th 2012).

The procedure itself was relatively uneventful.

You go into the hospital, and put on your gown. They ask you about 100 questions. The nurse puts an IV in your arm, and then the anesthesiologist says he is going to make you sleepy. After about 3 minutes you pass out and wake up in the recovery room.

Attached are some post-op photos.

Now feeling emancipated from the chains of my baclofen pump, The Neurosurgeon came to speak with me several hours later.

To my COMPLETE SHOCK and dismay, he told he he found the reason why my I had so many problems with the pump over the years. He said that the catheter was not connected to the medtronics pump! He stated he had to dig around in my sacrum area to find the origin of the catheter so he could pull it out of my spinal intrathecal space. At the moment I was in shock and he had to move onto the next surgery so I did not have time to ask, but I have a follow up appointment in a few days to find out what the operating report says.

This leaves me angry and confused. Because I walk with a cane I have no idea how it would "magically" not be connected. This confirms why I had so many lower back and increased spasticity problems, complete intestinal and bowel shutdown, the lower leg nerve shocks, headaches and "whoosh sound", 100% lack of sexual function, and the plethora of other problems I had. In essence the drug went directly into my body.

I am at least thankful I have it out of my butt because I can finally lay on my back after 3+ years of nightly pain; I literally loathed the idea of going to sleep prior. Sitting is more comfortable now and my sciatic pain has significantly decreased.

The recovery from the explant was minimal. I had to lay down for a few days afterwards, but I didn't have any spinal headaches this time. I believe I picked a good neurosurgeon this time. My incision was very clean, and there was minimal soreness. It was extremely tingly to the touch afterwards, but not an "excruciating" pain. Essentially your lower back nerves are on HIGH ALERT, so you feel everything for a few days afterwards.

You cannot take a shower for about a week which is awkward. Even then you have to wrap yourself in cellophane to keep the incision dry. After about 10 days you can take a normal shower though.

In sum, I'm glad to be done with it. I may never know if it "would" have helped me because of the fact the catheter was not connected.

Photo of my hip and lower back after surgery
Photo of my hip and lower back after surgery | Source
Photo of my lower back after about 2 weeks.
Photo of my lower back after about 2 weeks. | Source
Photo of the incision where they removed the pump after about 2 weeks.
Photo of the incision where they removed the pump after about 2 weeks. | Source


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)