Thousands of patients who have used pain pumps after arthroscopic shoulder surgery are at risk for a serious condition called Postarthroscopic Glenohumeral Chondrolysis (PAGCL), which causes severe pain and permanent joint damage.
Read on to learn more about the defective shoulder pain pumps and the condition they can cause. Below you can also learn about the lawsuits that have been filed by those injured by this defective medical device, who is being held responsible, and what you should do if you have been injured.
To speak with a qualified and experienced attorney about your shoulder pain pump-related injuries, please contact us today. Our product liability attorneys can evaluate your case to determine the best way to help you receive compensation for your pain, suffering, and other damages.
What are Defective Intra-articular Pain Pumps?
Intra-articular pain pumps are disposable medical devices implanted during arthroscopic surgery. They are intended to deliver anesthetic pain medication, such as lidocaine (xylocaine), bupivacaine (Marcaine), and/or epinephrine directly into the shoulder joint or other surgical site through a small catheter. These pain pump devices are commonly used for two to five days after surgery, after which they are removed.
It is important to note that these devices are not the same as PCA pumps, or patient controlled analgesia pumps, which provide pain medication under the skin or through the veins after surgery.
Medical device makers Stryker, DJO Inc, I-Flow Inc, and BREG, Inc are the major manufacturers of these intra-articular pain pumps.
What Are the Pain Pumps Used For?
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to treat various injuries and illnesses—including joint injuries, impingement syndrome, arthritis, tendonitis, and muscle and tendon tears—that affect to the hip, knee, and shoulder.
While this type of surgery is less invasive, it can cause significant pain requiring medication following the procedure.
Following arthroscopic shoulder surgery, some surgeons will place these pain pumps to manage pain. In the past, manufacturers of these products convinced surgeons that such devices could provide more effective pain relief without any undue side effects. However, medical evidence now shows that these devices posed serious risks to the thousands of patients in which they were used.
While these pain pumps are mostly used following arthroscopic procedures, they can and have been used following other surgeries, including breast augmentation, c-sections, gastric bypass, and knee ligament repair surgery (i.e. torn ACL). While evidence clearly shows the risk of these pain pumps when used for arthroscopic shoulder surgery, the exact risks of using these defective products following other surgeries are unknown.
As recent studies have shown, far more damaging side effects have resulted from the intra-articular pump, leaving a large number of patients at potential risk for significant joint injury from their use.
What Are the Risks Associated with the Shoulder Pain Pump?
According to recent studies, the intra-articular pain pump can cause serious damage to the hyaline cartilage in the shoulder joint, leaving patients with persistent and strong pain, limited range of motion, and a serious condition called post-arthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis (PAGCL).
Read on to learn more about this serious and incurable side effect of the shoulder pain pump.
Postarthroscopic Glenohumeral Chondrolysis (PAGCL)
Postarthroscopic Glenohumeral Chondrolysis (PAGCL) is an intensely painful and debilitating condition characterized by shoulder cartilage damage and destruction. Medical evidence has long shown a link between PAGCL and use of the shoulder pain pumps.
At a meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in 2006, experts demonstrated a clear relationship between the use of these defective pain pumps and the development of PAGCL.
Furthermore, in 2007, an American Journal of Sports Medicine article disclosed a correlation between the pain pumps and PAGCL. According to this report, use of these high-volume pain pumps caused PAGCL in 63% of the patients who received these pumps. Due to this extremely high risk of PAGCL, the study recommended that surgeons not use these post-operative pumps, particularly those using Marcaine with epinephrine.
Despite both of these warnings, the manufacturers of these dangerous medical devices failed to adequately warn medical professionals and patients, putting hundreds, if not thousands, of patients at serious risk.
Symptoms of PAGCL include:
- Grinding or popping in the shoulder when in motion
- Increased shoulder stiffness
- Moderate to severe pain in the shoulder, at rest and/or in motion
- Decreased range of motion
- Loss of joint strength
Diagnosis of PAGCL
When PAGCL is suspected, a diagnosis of PAGCL can be made with a physical examination and diagnostic tests, such as x-ray.
Treatment of PAGCL
Currently, the only treatment for PAGCL is palliative, meaning the pain and symptoms can be managed, but not cured. Worse, this painful and debilitating condition often requires an additional and more painful surgery. This procedure, called arthroplasty, replaces the damaged shoulder joint parts with artificial parts.
Younger patients often need multiple shoulder replacements throughout their lifetimes to treat PAGCL. Patients who develop PAGCL caused by defective pain pumps face a lifetime of pain and palliative surgery.
Pain Pump and PAGCL Lawsuits
Over a dozen pain pump lawsuits have been filed in federal court on behalf of patients who have suffered these serious side effects associated with the shoulder pain pumps. Experts believe that hundreds, if not thousands, of people have suffered similar shoulder chondrolysis injuries and are currently seeking assistance from qualified attorneys who are evaluating their cases and preparing to help them seek the compensation they deserve.
According to product liability claims involving pain pump injuries, drug companies and pain pump manufacturers are culpable. These entities encouraged doctors to use the devices despite knowing of their risks. As such, these profit-seeking companies misled doctors into believing their products were safe; when, in fact, they posed the risk of irreversible and debilitating disease.
Some of the culpable manufacturers already named in pain pump lawsuits include:
- DJO Incorporated
- I-Flow Incorporated
- BREG Incorporated
Legal experts stepping forward to help injured consumers say that these manufacturers must be held liable for their failure to warn doctors. Furthermore, they assert that the manufacturers failed to conduct adequate safety tests and inform medical professionals of known risks.
Your Legal Rights
If you or a loved one has received a shoulder pain pump following surgery and PAGCL symptoms develop, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. If you have suffered the serious and devastating side effects caused by the pain pump, you do not have to suffer in vain.
A qualified attorney with Oshman & Mirisola can evaluate your claim free of charge to determine the best way to protect your interests and help you seek the compensation you deserve. You may be able to seek compensation for your medical expenses, pain, suffering, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, out of pocket expenses, and more.
Our qualified attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that we only receive payment in cases that result in compensation for our clients.
Please contact us today to learn more about the defective shoulder pain pump, PAGCL, and your legal rights.