About the Program
At the Pain Management Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, we offer a range of therapies to treat pain at all levels and specialize in advanced techniques to treat complex, cancer-related pain. Pain control is an integral part of a patient’s care and improved pain relief helps a patient follow his or her treatment plan more successfully. Our therapies include:
- Cryoablation, a procedure that applies extremely cold fluids (cryo) to diseased tissue in order to destroy that tissue
- Nerve blocks, procedures in which nerves surrounding the pain area are numbed with medication in order to interrupt pain signals
- Spinal drug delivery
We also offer image-guided advanced interventional pain management techniques. By using imaging technology, our specialists can identify target areas and deliver pain relief more effectively to patients.
Mass General Difference
Mass General is consistently ranked among the best hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Our ranking is based on our quality of care, patient safety and reputation in different specialties. Our commitment to excellence means that we work to ensure that you receive the best care at all points during your visit.
As an academic center, Mass General invests in research to understand disease and develop new approaches in treatment. Our doctors are leaders within their respective fields and collaborate with colleagues in various departments across the hospital. As a patient, you benefit from shared expertise, leading research, and our commitment to quality and excellence.
Spinal Drug Delivery
Spinal drug delivery (SDD) is a therapy used by physicians in the Mass General Pain Management Center to relieve pain by delivering medication continuously to the spinal cord through a small implanted pump. SDD may be an ideal option for many advanced cancer patients as pain relief can be achieved with a fraction of the oral medication dose, which may result in fewer or reduced side effects such as drowsiness and decreased mental clarity. Our physicians have provided SDD for more than a decade. This advanced interventional therapy is an option for pain that is not easily treated.
We work closely with referring physicians to select appropriate candidates for SDD therapy. The process begins with an initial consultation (outpatient or inpatient). Patients may undergo a trial with the placement of a temporary catheter under the skin for several days. Based on the results of the trial, the patient and his/her care team will determine whether to continue with the therapy.
Our care team comprises board-certified doctors who have received specialty training in pain medicine, fellows who are undergoing specialty training, psychologists and psychiatrists. We work with the Mass General Cancer Center and the Mass General Palliative Care team to provide comprehensive, coordinated patient care. This collaboration brings together clinicians from multiple disciplines to provide expert assessment on patients’ conditions and recommend advanced therapies for patients with complex needs. We are guided by our philosophy to improve quality of life for our patients and aid them with their medical decision making.
Research and Innovation
Physicians in the Mass General Pain Management Center are defining the field of pain medicine. Our doctors conduct well-known innovative research on methods to improve pain management, serve in leadership positions at relevant medical societies, speak at national and international conferences, publish frequently and teach courses on trends in pain medicine.
Patients may have the opportunity to participate in a clinical research study. If you are interested in participating in a study, your doctor can help determine whether you qualify, and will provide you with detailed information to review.
Preparing for the Appointment
During your consultation, your care team will conduct a physical examination and review your medical history. If you are a new patient, we ask that you bring a list of the medications, vitamins and herbal supplements that you take, along with information on dosages. Additionally, please bring any medical records, CDs of images, consultation notes, and notes on previous treatments and their effectiveness. We use this information at the time of your first visit to get a complete picture of you and your overall condition in order to develop an appropriate pain management plan.