Injury to the shoulder(s) often result from falls, especially if they were off a ladder or higher up off the ground. To repair the damage, arthroscopic (shoulder) surgery is often used. Following this procedure, the patient will still be in a lot of pain.
While oral medications are used much of the time, direct injection of pain medication through a catheter is sometimes used.
This direct injection method helps provide needed relief from pretty serious pain. However, many patients who have received pain medication through this method claim the injections led to a much more serious condition known as Postarthroscopic Glenohumeral Chondrolyosis, or PAGCL.
PAGCL is characterized by a progressive loss of cartilage in the glenohumeral joint, which connects the arm and shoulder together.
This cartilage cannot regenerate and therefore its loss is permanent, which causes severe pain, discomfort and a life-long disability. Other indications of PAGCL include:
- Increased shoulder pain both when resting and moving
- More stiffness in the shoulder
- Clicking, popping and grinding in the shoulder
- Loss of strength and decreased range of motion
- X-ray will show narrowing joint space
Complaints from patients led the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons to commission a study in 2006 where 152 shoulder surgery patients were examined. Of these patients, 12 developed PAGCL, all of which received pain pump injections directly into the shoulder.
Patients who only received injection(s) to the soft tissue surrounding the shoulder did not experience breakdown in cartilage…this much shorter injection is in fact the only method approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
In an advisory released a few months ago, the FDA asked manufacturers to include warnings about direct injection. However, the agency doesn’t openly say pain injections cause cartilage breakdown, maintaining they do not know why this occurs in some patients.
Regardless, many lawsuits have been filed by patients seeking compensation for damages resulting from the use of pain pump injections.
If you’re experiencing symptoms listed above and have had direct injections of pain medication to your shoulder, it’s important you consult with your doctor immediately.
It’s also suggested you contact a medical malpractice or defective product attorney licensed in your state. Tennessee medical malpractice attorneys at Gilreath & Associates can help you obtain compensation for injuries stemming from defective products like this.