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Pain Pumps Produce Additional Problems

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Washington, DCPain pumps popularly used for pain relief after shoulder and knee surgery are coming under severe suspicion by the medical community. These are intra-articular pain pumps are placed at the site of the surgery. The pumps are designed to run either electrically or from a motor. Two pumps in particular have been suspected of causing difficulty in patients who used them after surgical procedures.

The I-Flow On-Q and Stryker Pain Pumps are believed to cause Post-arthroscopic Glenohumeral Chondrolysis (PAGCL). PAGCL is an annoying condition that comes with a considerable amount of pain and causes cartilage loss after arthroscopic surgery. The condition primarily affects shoulders but can affect other joints after surgery such as ankles, knees, and wrists.

Knee PainThe pumps are designed to flow pain relieving chemicals to the site of the surgical procedure. Pain pumps function for up to seventy-two hours after surgery takes place. Physicians are using the pumps in more recent times to stave off having to use narcotics and various other pain medications that come with negative after effects. Physicians are growing more wary of the pumps as patients report more problems.

Patients are coming forward and reporting problems and issues as a result of using the pumps. Medical experts believe that PAGCL is a direct result of the pain pumps administering too large of a dose of pain chemicals. This condition is in its infancy since pain pumps are a new method of administering pain medication. The over abundance of medication that is being supplied to the areas is causing the loss of the joint cartilage. The PAGCL condition can be witnessed in patients who have undergone arthroscopic surgery as soon as two months following the procedure. Patients often realize they have the condition when the surgery doesn't appear to be healing properly. Generally joints are protected after surgical procedures, so it takes time for patients to notice problems. The loss of cartilage limits the complete mobility of the affected joint. The damage is irreversible and only a joint replacement will satisfy the cartilage loss that has been sustained.

Some signals and red flags that someone is suffering with PAGCL are: clicking or popping noise coming from the joint when moved, grinding in the joint, stiffness in the joint, consistent pain whether moving or resting, weakness in the area, and decreased range of motion. Prior patients that have used either the I-Flow On-Q and Stryker Pain Pumps are being encouraged to check with their physician. Since manufacturers of the pumps did not issue the appropriate warnings to heighten awareness that there could be a potential problem, compensation may be available to those who have been adversely affected from using the pumps. Had the warnings been issued, PAGCL would not be an issue for these patients.

Also, some patients may experience issues other than full blown PAGCL. Joint space and cartilage are lost as a result of too much pain pump medication. Even these conditions must be checked out by a physician, and have the potential to be covered for compensation.

By Delsia Hartford


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