A shoulder pain pump is a medical device implanted into the shoulder during arthroscopic surgery to alleviate post-operative shoulder joint pain. A shoulder pain pump works by infusing pain medication directly into the shoulder through a catheter.

Shoulder pain pumps are typically used for two days after arthroscopic surgery, but shoulder pain pumps can deliver pain medication for up to 72 hours. Because shoulder pain pumps are disposable, they are removed and discarded when the pain medication is no longer needed. Many different shoulder pain pumps are available, but the I-Flow On Q Pump and the Stryker Pain Pump are two of the most popular shoulder pain pump models. 

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Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery

Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat a damaged or painful joint, such as a knee, hip, or shoulder. Arthroscopic shoulder surgery can be used to treat a variety of shoulder problems,


  • arthritis
  • tendonitis
  • frozen shoulder
  • rotator cuff injuries
  • impingement syndrome
  • labral tears

Although arthroscopic shoulder surgery involves less pain then open surgery, patients may still experience significant pain after arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Shoulder pain pumps are sometimes used to alleviate this pain. Studies have shown, however, that shoulder pain pumps may actually cause some patients to suffer permanent arthroscopic cartilage damage and pain.

Pain Pumps & PAGCL

A study published in the October 2007 issue of The American Journal of Sports Medicine links the use of high-volume shoulder pain pumps to Postarthroscopic Glenohumeral Chondrolysis (PAGCL), a condition in which hyaline cartilage in the shoulder joint wears down.

According to the study, as much as 63 percent of patients who use shoulder pain pumps are at risk of developing PAGCL, which sometimes requires shoulder replacement surgery to treat. Due to the high risk of PAGCL, the study’s authors recommend that shoulder pain pumps, especially those that use bupivacaine with epinephrine, should not be used until their effects are further studied.

Advice from a Pain Pump Lawyer

If you or a loved one has suffered serious side effects or injuries after using a shoulder pain pump, you may recover compensation for your injuries by pursuing a shoulder pain pump lawsuit. Contact us today for a free and confidential case review.

Published November 17, 2011 by