Shoulder Pain Pump Side Effects

For years, shoulder pain pumps have been used for pain management following surgery. An intra-articular pain pump catheter is typically placed into the joint by the surgeon during the shoulder procedures. For several days following surgery, the pain pump delivers pain medication to the shoulder. Over time, studies have shown these devices to be linked to an extremely debilitating condition called Postarthroscopic Glenohumeral Chondrolysis (PAGCL) and other  shoulder pain pump side effects.

Shoulder pain pumps side effects infographic


PAGCL is the deterioration of cartilage around the joint following shoulder surgery. Cartilage is the tissue between joints that acts as a cushion to prevent bones from scraping against each other. When cartilage between a joint deteriorates, the result is extremely painful.

According to one study published in the October 2007 issue of The American Journal of Sports Medicine, nearly 63 percent of patients using a shoulder pain pump are at risk of developing PAGCL. 152 patients who had undergone anthroscopic shoulder surgeries were evaluated. Twelve of the patients developed PAGCL. All of the patients who developed PAGCL received pain pumps, which was the only factor that the PAGCL patients had in common. The study recommends that patients avoid using these products until the safety of these pumps are determined.

More Surgery

PAGCL almost always results in more surgery. Still, many patients never regain full use of their shoulder joint. Patients contemplating having a shoulder pain pump post-surgery need to be aware of the potential complications.

Consult a Lawyer

If you or a loved one has developed cartilage damage or PAGCL following arthroscopic surgery, you should contact an attorney to find out whether you are eligible for compensation for your injuries.

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