Shoulder Pain Pump Side Effects and Dangers
Playing sports and exercising puts a lot of strain on a person's muscles and joints. Many athletes experience chronic pain in their knees or shoulders caused by stress on these joints. People who play full-contact sports or overwork their arms are at risk of dislocating their shoulder or damaging the cartilage that acts like a cushion between their bones. These injuries often require surgery.
As doctors started experimenting with new techniques and instruments during these surgeries, reports of chrondrolysis - the destruction of cartilage - have emerged. The use of shoulder pain pumps to administer drugs is responsible for causing this condition, which is incurable and usually requires shoulder replacement. Lawsuits are being filed all over the country because physicians were using a medication in shoulder pain pumps that the FDA did not clear for this use.
Arthroscopic surgery is a procedure that is used to examine and treat damage to an interior joint, including the shoulder. It is minimally invasive and involves inserting a tiny camera into the damaged joint. Here, a doctor can evaluate the damage and many times treat it. It is a simple procedure that has been used for decades.
Normally, oral medication is prescribed after surgery to help a person deal with the painful side effects. The use of pain pumps after arthroscopic shoulder surgery is a new trend in the medical field, which involves placing a plastic tube inside the joint that releases pain medication through the body. It is run for 24 to 48 hours after surgery to relieve pain.
The most common medication that was being used in conjunction with these shoulder pain pumps is called Bupivacaine - a powerful local anesthetic. This medication had been used orally and intravenously in the past with no complications. However, it had never been used in a pain pump inside the shoulder.
The cartilage in the shoulder is not very thick, so when the pump released Bupivacaine directly into the joint, it caused a breakdown of the cartilage - also known as chrondrolysis. The FDA never cleared Bupivacaine for pain pump use inside the shoulder, so patients with chrondrolysis following arthroscopic surgery are pursuing legal means.
Joint replacement is the only cure for severe cases of chrondrolysis. This means that patients who originally set out for a minimally invasive surgery now require a total shoulder replacement. Many times, these patients are athletes whose performance will never be the same. The FDA ordered a safety label change for the use of shoulder pain pumps containing Bupivacaine in 2010, but for some patients the damage has been done.