Innovative Pain Management through University of Minnesota Clinics and Surgery Center
The Clinic for Comprehensive Pain Management, located in the University of Minnesota Health Clinics and Surgery Center, specializes in treating patients with chronic pain, including the appropriate and safe use of opioid and non-opioid medications and innovative therapies for the management of complex pain conditions. A multidisciplinary team that includes pain physicians, psychologists, pharmacists, physical therapists and nurse practitioners with expertise in comprehensive pain management work together to create solutions for patients to manage their pain.
Michael Andrews, MD, Anesthesiologist, Intensivist and Pain Management Specialist brings a special focus to innovation in pain management.
Advancing the uses of spinal cord stimulation
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, is a complicated, life-long disease and is one of the more challenging pain conditions to manage. Spinal cord stimulation has emerged as an excellent treatment option for patients seeking to improve quality of life and reduce the use of opioid medications. Through the University of Minnesota Health Pain Management Clinic and based on a provider’s recommendation, patients are able to participate in a minimally invasive, 7-10 day trial before the decision is made for a permanent spinal cord stimulation device implant. More than 90 percent of patients who have undergone the trial have chosen to have the device implanted through a 2-3 hour outpatient surgery. Following the surgery, patients are educated on using the stimulation device at home through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.
“University of Minnesota Health remains on the forefront of developing novel uses of spinal cord stimulation for pain management,” said Dr. Andrews. “Every patient is unique, and every treatment approach is tailored to meet each patient’s needs.”
Introducing the intrathecal pump program
In May, the University of Minnesota Health Pain Management Clinic will begin an intrathecal pump program for patients experiencing difficult to treat pain. The benefits of a surgically implanted intrathecal pump include the ability to direct pain management medication with a high level of accuracy, reducing the need for regularly scheduled oral medication. This approach may be appropriate for patients who have complex pain management needs and have not responded well to other types of alternative therapies. This may include patients in the final stages of cancer or patients who will need opioid-based treatments for extended periods of time. With appropriate follow-up and management, intrathecal pumps can provide treatment around the clock, improving the patient’s quality of life and reducing the reliance on pain medication schedules.
“The Clinics and Surgery Center fosters collaboration between our team and our surgical colleagues to provide the best care for each patient. We treat patients—not diseases—through looking holistically at who they are, what their daily activities are and what they hope to achieve with pain management,” said Dr. Andrews.