Pain pumps used following C-sections, hysterectomies

The On-Q PainBuster pain pump manufactured and marketed by I-Flow Corporation, is now being used by obstetricians and gynecologists to ease a woman’s pain caused from the incision made for Caesarean section deliveries and hysterectomies, according to the Fort Wayne, Indiana News-Sentinel.

The On-Q PainBuster pain pump offers an alternative to traditional intravenous and oral painkillers, which can leave patients feeling groggy. The pain pump uses a small balloon that holds a local anesthetic that is fed through a thin antimicrobial catheter that is inserted into the surgical site. The device injects the pain relief medication directly to the surgical site on a continuous basis for up to 72 hours following surgery. Following surgery, the patient goes home with the implanted device and after two or three days, the patient gently pushes out the catheter and discards the device.

Doctors who have used the pain pumps for hysterectomies and C-sections say the device helps women get up and about faster than using more traditional pain meds.

The I-Flow On Q PainBuster pain pumps have been a popular choice for orthopedic surgeons performing knee and shoulder surgeries. The pain pumps are designed and intended to be used with anesthetics that are administered continuously over time.

However, in shoulder surgeries in particular, the medication delivered directly to the surgery site has caused serious and permanent damage to the cartilage of the shoulder joint. This narrowing of the joint space is known as chondrolysis, a condition in which the complete or nearly complete loss of cartilage in the shoulder joint. Chondrolysis is an irreversible disabling and extremely painful condition.

A recent study published by The American Journal of Sports Medicine identified these intra-articular pain pumps as the likely cause of chondrolysis in shoulders.

There do not appear to be any reported problems with pain pump use following C-sections and hysterectomies at this time.