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Arthroscopy. 2009 Jun;25(6):647-52. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2009.01.019.

Pain pump use after shoulder arthroscopy as a cause of glenohumeral chondrolysis.

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Arthritis, Orthopedic, and Sports Medical Center, Glendale, California 91206, USA.


Shoulder arthroscopy has become a routine outpatient surgery. Pain control is a limiting factor for patient discharge after surgery, and several modalities are used to provide continued analgesia postoperatively. Regional anesthetic blocks and shoulder pain pumps are common methods to provide short-term pain control. Shoulder pain pumps can be used either in the subacromial space or within the glenohumeral joint. Several clinical studies suggested--which was confirmed by a bovine and rabbit cartilage study--that there is significant chondrotoxicity from bupivacaine, a local anesthetic commonly used in pain pumps. Postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis is a noninfectious entity associated with factors including use of radiofrequency thermal instruments and intra-articular pain pumps that administer bupivacaine, but there have been no cases reported with subacromial pain pump placement. Treatment options are difficult in a young patient with postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis, and understanding the literature with regard to risk factors is paramount to counseling patients and preventing this devastating complication.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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