Arthroscopic surgery is useful for reduced trauma, pain, and a shorter recovery time. However, there is still a significant amount of pain involved in this type of surgery. Surgeons have to make two incisions for arthroscopic surgery; one is for a tiny camera to allow the surgeon to see the area that must be repaired; the second is for a surgical instrument. In late 2007, the American Journal of Sports Medicine indicated that patients who had undergone shoulder arthroscopy were developing a painful condition known as Postarthroscopic Glenohumeral Chondrolysis (PAGCL). The cause of PAGCL was found to be the pain management pumps used in the surgery. The attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers are currently accepting cases of patients who developed PAGCL as the result of using a pain pump.
While oral pain medication is often administered after the surgery, the addition of a pain pump that contains bupivacaine or lidocaine, and sometimes epinephrine may be part of the recovery. The disposable pump is only used for a couple days and can be removed by the patient when they no longer need it.
The pain pump administers medication directly into the surgery site delivered through a catheter. It is believed that the high concentration of medication directly into the site may be the cause of PAGCL.
The glenohumeral joint is the ball at the end of the arm bone and the socket of the shoulder blade. Cartilage covers the ball of the arm, which allows smooth movement of the joint.
Chondrolysis is a condition in which the cartilage deteriorates. Chondrocytes are cells within the cartilage that do not regenerate. When chondrocytes are gone, the resulting loss of cartilage causes joint stiffness, decrease in the range of motion, and extreme pain when the arm is in motion as well as at rest. Other symptoms of PAGCL include:
- Clicking, grinding, and popping
- Weakness in the shoulder
- Narrowing of the joint space
Causes of PAGCL
More than 60 percent of patients who used a pain pump that delivered bupivacaine or epinephrine after arthroscopic surgery may have developed PAGCL. While they are excellent drugs for managing post-surgical pain, the delivery of these narcotics directly into the shoulder joint, rather than into muscle tissue destroys cartilage. Physicians began introducing the catheter to deliver the medication directly into the joint at the suggestion of some of the manufacturers of the pump even though this was never cleared by the Food and Drug Administration. Previous research also showed that bupivacaine applied directly to bovine cartilage destroyed the cartilage cells.
Experienced Defective Product Representation
If you have developed PAGCL after shoulder arthroscopic surgery, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers have handled many defective product claims, and we can make sure your rights are protected.