Permanent Shoulder Damage from Pain Pumps

Pain pump victims never imagined that the device that was supposed to relieve discomfort would end up causing permanent pain and damage to their shoulders.

Pain Pumps: Post-Operative Pain Relief

After a shoulder or knee surgery is performed, to repair damage or to ease pain due to an injury, a pain management device more commonly known as a “pain pump,” may be implanted to reduce pain caused by the surgery. This device delivers a controlled and continuous dosage of local anesthetics and narcotics through a catheter. The catheter is inserted into the synovial space also referred to as the joint space.

Post Arthroscopic Glenohumeral Chondrolysis

Postarthroscopic Glenohumeral Chondrolysis, also known as PAGCL, is a condition that occurs after surgery is performed on the shoulder, which affects the glenohumeral joint. The cartilage within this joint space is the area affected by PAGCL. The condition causes cartilage to deteriorate, resulting in the known complications associated with PAGCL.

Studies show that the development of PAGCL in patients who have received arthroscopic shoulder surgery have one common link, the use of a pain pump after surgery. Patients who have arthroscopic shoulder surgery are sometimes given shoulder pain pumps to relieve pain caused by the surgery.

Symptoms of Post Arthroscopic Glenohumeral Chondrolysis

  • Clicking, grinding, or popping when shoulder is in motion
  • Pain when using shoulder or when shoulder is at rest
  • Shoulder weakness or stiffness
  • Decreased range of movement
  • Pain at joints

Causes of PAGCL

PAGCL, is an extremely painful condition, which results in severe damage of the cartilage of the shoulder. Experts believe that it is the high dosage of pain medications such as epinephrine or bupivacaine that cause this deterioration of cartilage and in some cases deterioration of the bone. The American Journal of Sports Medicine conducted a study on the effects of these medications and prolonged exposure to chondrocytes which are cartilage cells. The results of the study showed that after exposing the pain medications epinephrine and bupivacaine to chrondrocytes, significant cell death occurred at 72 hours.