Baclofen Pump

A baclofen pump is a device that is used to provide a continuous infusion of baclofen.

A baclofen pump is usually used when oral medication has not helped enough to reduce muscle spasticity.

The main part of the pump is surgically placed in the abdomen. A catheter from the pump is threaded into the space around the spinal cord that holds the cerebrospinal fluid, called the intrathecal space. Your child will have two incisions, one on the abdomen and one on the lower back.

The pump is filled with baclofen. A computer programmer makes adjustments that help the pump deliver the right dose. The medication is refilled into the pump every two to six months. 

Your child will go to the Postanesthesia Care Unit (PACU) right after surgery. He / she will then be transferred to the Neuroscience Unit for close observation.

The pain team will help provide pain medication for your child after surgery. Expect your child to stay on his / her same spasticity medication during the hospital stay. Your surgeon, rehabilitation doctor, advance practice nurses and other professionals will see your child while in the hospital.

An abdominal binder, or wrap, may be used after surgery. A dry dressing may be kept over the incisions until your child’s first outpatient visit. 

Your child may go home when he / she is drinking well, able to sit up comfortably and pain is under good control. Physical therapy staff may be asked to see your child for assistance with mobility / wheelchair adjustment.

The rehabilitation staff may adjust the pump dose of baclofen before your child goes home.

You will need to change your child’s dressing every day after giving him / her a sponge bath. Your child should not take a tub bath until the surgeon says it is OK. If your child is able, he / she may take a shower. You may need to use the abdominal binder at home. The staff in the hospital will give you more detailed instructions before you go home. 

Your child will come to the Neurosurgery Clinic about two weeks after going home. A member of your healthcare team will check your child’s incisions during this visit.

Your child will come to the rehabilitation clinic so the team can check on how well your child is responding to the pump and:

  • Adjust the pump rate
  • Reduce your child’s oral medications for spasticity
  • Refill the pump

Last Updated 06/2012