The pump that doesn’t ease the pain

Through arthroscopic shoulder surgery, patients hope for better use of their shoulder and to put an end to their shoulder pain. The expectations of the surgery include alleviating patients’ shoulder problems, and for their post-surgical pain to be eased through pain pumps. While the problems initially might have been alleviated through surgery, it was the pump to ease the pain after the surgery that brought the patients back with more pain and suffering than before.When patients reported back to their doctors after surgery, the same stories in numerous cases were reported, citing a loss of cartilage, and chronic pain.

According to the October 2007 issue of The American Journal of Sports Medicine, cases have been studied and it has been reported that a strong association between the intra-articular use of high volume pain pumps following arthroscopic shoulder surgery was linked to an unexplainable loss of cartilage in the shoulder joint.

To fully understand why these pumps can cause the loss of cartilage, the reader must understand how the pain pump works. The pain pump, inserted during the surgery, delivers high concentrations of pain medication to the surgical site.

Original product information instructs physicians to insert the pain pump into muscle tissue.  However, many physicians were instructed by representatives marketing the pain pump to insert the pain pump between the joints, into cartilage, to increase the effectiveness of the pump. This usage was never approved by the FDA.

When the pain medication is delivered into the cartilage, it actually kills the cartilage, resulting in severe pain, stiffness in the shoulder and, for most, joint replacement surgeries.

Dr. Charles Beck, an orthopedic surgeon and head of the study of pain pumps, believes that thousands of patients nationwide have been affected negatively by these devices.