Shoulder Pain Pumps Linked to SHOULDER CARTILAGE DESTRUCTION
The use of pain pumps in shoulder surgeries has been linked to a condition called Postarthroscopic Glenohumeral Chondrolysis (PAGCL). PAGCL is the deterioration of cartilage in the shoulder following such procedures. An intra-articular pain pump catheter is placed into the shoulder joint during these procedures. The pain pump remains in the joint for several days to deliver pain medication to the shoulder.
PAGCL is one of the most common complications that can follow shoulder surgeries. In 2006, a paper was presented at a meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons showing evidence that the use of intra-articular pain pumps could be responsible for this painful condition. The study looked at 152 patients who had undergone arthroscopic shoulder surgeries. Twelve of the patients developed PAGCL. All of the patients who developed the condition had received pain pumps during their surgeries. The use of the intra-articular pain pump was the only factor that the PAGCL patients had in common.
PAGCL is an extremely painful and life-altering condition. Symptoms of PAGCL include pain at the shoulder when it is in motion or at rest; increased shoulder stiffness; popping or grinding when the shoulder is in motion; decrease in range of motion; and a loss of strength in the joint. PAGCL is usually diagnosed with an x-ray showing the narrowing of the shoulder joint space. Treatment for this condition is further surgery; however, many patients never regain full use of their shoulder joint.