Continuous Shoulder Pain After Arthroscopic Surgery?

We have previously reported here that pain pumps used on patients’ shoulders post-operatively have led to an increasing number of cases of PAGCL, or postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis. In fact, almost 63% of patients on which a pain pump was used following shoulder surgery may develop PAGCL. Many patients, however, are reporting problems obtaining the correct diagnosis for their injury and have not been apprised by their doctors of the relationship that exists between their continuous shoulder problems and the pain pump that was used on their shoulder following surgery.

PAGCL is a condition within the shoulder joint space that was not present prior to the shoulder surgery. When an intra-articular pain pump catheter is used post-operatively, the pump injects an anesthetic(s) directly into the shoulder joint space causing the cartilage in the joint space to deteriorate. This leads to the joint space narrowing and increased bone-on-bone activity, which is extremely painful. When the joint cartilage degenerates in this manner, the patient often experiences the following types of symptoms:
(1) severe pain in the shoulder when in motion or at rest, usually not lessening with pain
medication;
(2) shoulder stiffness and decreased range of motion;
(3) a clicking or popping of the shoulder when in motion.

If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms after a surgery in which a pain pump was used post-operatively, talk with your doctor about your symptoms and have him explore whether there has been cartilage loss in the shoulder joint. X-rays and MRIs can reveal whether the cartilage of the shoulder has deteriorated. You doctor may characterize the shoulder problem as chondrolysis, osteochondrosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease, or even just cartilage loss. However, the true diagnosis may be PAGCL, and you should contact an attorney immediately to discuss your legal rights. Please contact us for more information and make sure that your rights are protected.