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Jessica Smagacz
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Pain Pumps Found to Lead to Permanent Shoulder Cartilage Damage

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Recent studies suggest that the use of pain pumps implanted in the shoulder during surgery may be linked to a serious injury called Postarthroscopic Glenhumeral Chondrolysis (PAGCL).

Pain pumps are used during arthroscopic surgery and implanted in the shoulder. The flexible plastic catheters deliver medication to the joints.

Patients who have gone through this procedure heal faster and usually return to normal activities more quickly than if other surgical techniques have been used. However, the price for this faster procedure with quicker recovery have resulted in serious injuries.

In 2006, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons presented a paper showing the use of intra-articular pain pumps could be responsible for PAGCL. 152 patients were studied who underwent arthroscopic should surgeries. 12 of these patients developed PAGCL. The paper also recommended that this type of pain treatment be avoided until more information on shoulder pain pumps and any relation to PAGCL that they had could be understood.

PAGCL is a form of chondrolysis that causes severe pain and stiffness in the injured shoulder, limitations on range of motion, and reduced strength. Some patients who have PAGCL require shoulder joint replacement surgery.

Symptoms of PAGCL include:

  • Increased shoulder stiffness
  • Pain at the shoulder when it is in motion or not in motion
  • Loss of strength in the joint
  • Decrease in range of motion

Treatment PAGCL:

  • More surgery

Pain pumps that have been affected are those manufactured by Stryker Co., DJO Inc., I-Flow Co., BREG Inc.. The most common include: Stryker®; Stryker® PainPump 1®; Stryker®; PainPump 2®; PainPump® Blockaid®; I-Flow®; On-Q® Painbuster®; Donjoy®; Donjoy® Pain Control Device; Accufuser® Plus Pain Pump.

If you are someone who is experiencing these symptoms and have or had an implantation of a pain pump, you should see a doctor immediately and you may consider contacting the attorneys at Childers, Buck, and Schlueter to see how they can help protect your legal rights.