Submuscular Placement of Baclofen Infusion Pumps: Case Series and Technique.

TitleSubmuscular Placement of Baclofen Infusion Pumps: Case Series and Technique.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsBogue JT, Wald G, Iosim S, Greenfield JP, Otterburn DM
JournalAnn Plast Surg
IssueS1 Suppl 1
Date Published2020 07

BACKGROUND: Baclofen pumps provide treatment of symptoms of spasticity for disease processes such as cerebral palsy and traumatic brain injury. These devices provide continuous infusion or periodic dosing of intrathecal baclofen (ITB). Traditionally, these pumps have been placed subcutaneously. Subcutaneous device placement has been associated with infection and extrusion. Baclofen pumps are large and range from 8 to 10 cm in diameter and 4 to 8 cm in width. Patients requiring device placement typically have a paucity of subcutaneous tissue. Cachexia coupled with the size and bulk of these devices leads to increased protusion and friction. Submuscular placement provides a well-vascularized pocket that directs the device inward eliminating protrusion and decreasing the potential for soft tissue breakdown.

METHODS: A retrospective chart review of ITB pump placement in a submuscular plane by a single plastic surgeon at a major academic center in conjunction with a neurosurgeon was performed. Inclusion criteria were cases of primary placement or replacement of ITB pumps and spasticity requiring ITB. Major complications included infection, extrusion, and reoperation.

RESULTS: Five patients during a 5-month period were treated with submuscular placement of ITB pumps. Average age of patients included was 18.4 years. Average preoperative body mass index was 18.8 kg/m, with values ranging from 15.8 to 20.1 kg/m. Medical histories of patients included diagnoses of cerebral palsy and traumatic brain injury causing spasticity. The most frequently cited reason for plastic surgical consultation preoperatively was cachexia. Two patients had previous baclofen pumps placed subcutaneously. Average follow-up was 6 months and ranged from 3 to 13 months. There were no major complications. One patient had a small seroma that spontaneously resolved. No patient had wound healing problems, and there were no extrusions of implanted devices or reoperations.

CONCLUSION: Submuscular placement of baclofen pumps provides a well-vascularized and stable environment for device placement that minimizes the dangers of pump extrusion and infection. Patients who require treatment with ITB commonly have severe cachexia, which makes subcutaneous device placement high risk. Submuscular placement should be performed in all patients with body mass index less than 20 kg/m.

Alternate JournalAnn Plast Surg
PubMed ID32149846