The Penn State Health Approach to Intrathecal Baclofen Pump Treatment

The Intrathecal Baclofen (ITB) Pump Program at Penn State Health works to reduce spasticity and improve overall quality of life for those dealing with severe spasticity. Our Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation experts offer comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care for children and adults.

We evaluate, monitor and manage ITB pump therapy and work closely with your implantation surgeon and therapists to ensure continuity of care.

Specially Trained to Care for You

When you come to Penn State Health for ITB therapy, you’ll find a specialized team that works together to deliver seamless care, from assessment through long-term management. Our highly trained team includes board-certified PM&R physiatrists and specialists, as well as nurses and therapists with advanced rehabilitation training.

Our services include:

  • Screening trial
  • Pump implantation
  • Interrogation and titration
  • Pump refills
  • Long-term management

What You Can Expect

Intrathecal baclofen pump therapy is used to treat severe spasticity that causes significant discomfort and/or interferes with your ability to move or function. A pump is implanted to deliver a continuous supply of medication to the spinal fluid to relax affected muscles.

Common candidates for ITB pump therapy include people with severe spasticity related to:

  • Brain or spinal cord injuries
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke

Assessment/screening: Your managing physician can discuss with you the pros and cons of ITB therapy, what you can realistically expect from the intervention and what long-term management could look like. Then, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist will perform a diagnostic screening test to see if you’re a good candidate for ITB pump therapy.

Implantation: If you are accepted into the program, you’ll be referred to a surgeon to have the device implanted. Your surgeon will insert a catheter (slender tube) into the intrathecal space (fluid-filled space around your spinal cord) and insert the pump under the skin in your abdomen. The pump is connected to the catheter that delivers the medicine. The surgical team will fill and analyze the pump during implantation. Once implanted, the pump will continuously deliver medicine directly to the spinal fluid.

Dosing and long-term management: Follow-up care is essential with an ITB pump. In the first several weeks following implantation, you’ll see your managing physician frequently, so he or she can find the proper dosing for you. Once this is established, your pump will need to be refilled every one to six months in an outpatient setting, depending on the size and dose of the pump. It’s important to be timely with your pump refill appointments because allowing your pump to empty can cause withdrawal side effects like itchy or burning skin, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, seizures and possibly death.

We’re always here to support you, but in the event of an emergency, please call 911 immediately.

Support Groups

Having a chronic health condition impacts every part of your life. If you have an ITB pump, or if you are a caregiver for someone who does, you can find comfort and encouragement from our stroke, spinal cord injury or brain injury.

Learn more about support groups offered

Meet the Team

Why Choose Penn State Health for Intrathecal Baclofen Pump Therapy

At Penn State Health, we care about quality of life for you and your loved ones. Our commitment to high-quality care has earned us the recognition of Comprehensive Integrated Inpatient Rehabilitation Program (CIIRP) for adults and children by both The Joint Commission and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). This means that when you come to Penn State Health, you can rest assured that you’re receiving care that exceeds national guidelines and expectations.