An intra-articular pain pump is a medical device implanted into a patient’s body during surgery to alleviate post-operative pain. An intra-articular pain pump works by infusing pain medication directly into the shoulder through a catheter. Intra-articular pain pumps are frequently used during arthroscopic surgery, but may also be used in other general surgery procedures, including: 

  • ACL knee surgery
  • Cesarean section
  • Gastric Bypass
  • Breast Augmentation

Intra-articular pain pumps are typically used for two days after surgery, but intra-articular pain pumps can deliver pain medication for up to 5 days. Because intra-articular pain pumps are disposable, they are removed and discarded when the pain medication is no longer needed. Many different intra-articular pain pumps are available, but the On Q Pump and the Stryker Pain Pump are two of the most popular intra-articular pain pump models.

Arthroscopic Surgery & Intra-articular Pain Pumps

Arthroscopic surgery, sometimes called arthroscopy 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, including:

  • 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. Intra-articular pain pumps are sometimes used to alleviate this pain. Studies have shown, however, that intra-articular pain pumps may actually cause some arthroscopic shoulder surgery patients to suffer permanent arthroscopic cartilage damage and pain.

Intra-articular Pain Pumps & PAGCL

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

According to the study, as much as 63 percent of patients who use intra-articular 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 patients avoid using intra-articular shoulder pain pumps, especially those that use bupivacaine with epinephrine, until their effects are further studied.

Intra-articular Pain Pump Lawyers

If you or a loved one has suffered serious side effects or injuries after using an intra-articular pain pump, you can pursue a shoulder pain pump lawsuit and recover compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free and confidential case review.

Published November 17, 2011 by