Polyanalgesic consensus conference-2012: Consensus on diagnosis, detection, and treatment of catheter-tip granulomas (inflammatory masses)

Timothy R. Deer, Joshua Prager, Robert Levy, James Rathmell, Eric Buchser, Allen Burton, David Caraway, Michael Cousins, José De Andrés, Sudhir Diwan, Michael Erdek, Eric Grigsby, Marc Huntoon, Marilyn S. Jacobs, Philip Kim, Krishna Kumar, Michael Leong, Liong Liem, Gladstone C. McDowell, Sunil PanchalRichard Rauck, Michael Saulino, B. Todd Sitzman, Peter Staats, Michael Stanton-Hicks, Lisa Stearns, Mark Wallace, K. Dean Willis, William Witt, Tony Yaksh, Nagy Mekhail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Continuous intrathecal infusion of drugs to treat chronic pain and spasticity has become a standard part of the algorithm of care. The use of opioids has been associated with noninfectious inflammatory masses at the tip of the intrathecal catheter, which can result in neurologic complications. Methods: The Polyanalgesic Consensus Conference is a meeting of a group of well-published and experienced practitioners; the purpose of the meeting is to update the standard of care for intrathecal therapies to reflect current knowledge gleaned from literature and clinical experience. An exhaustive literature search was performed, and information from this search was provided to panel members. Analysis of the published literature was coupled with the clinical experience of panel participants to form recommendations regarding intrathecal inflammatory masses or granulomas. Results: The panel has made recommendations for the prevention, diagnosis, and management of intrathecal granulomas. Conclusion: The use of chronic infusions of intrathecal opioids is associated with the formation of inflammatory masses at the intrathecal catheter tip in a small minority of treated patients. Nonetheless, the appearance of these space-occupying lesions can lead to devastating neurologic sequelae. The prevention, early detection, and successful treatment of intraspinal granulomas are important considerations when offering intrathecal drug therapy to patients with chronic intractable pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-496
Number of pages14
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2012


  • Chronic pain
  • consensus
  • granuloma
  • inflammatory mass
  • intrathecal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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