Intra-articular infusion pain pumps used following some arthroscopic shoulder surgeries are often referred to as a “pain ball” or “pain relief ball”.  These devices are used to deliver medication directly to the shoulder joint to ease post-surgical pain.  However, recent studies have suggested that use of such pain management systems could cause permanent shoulder cartilage damage.  The lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are reviewing potential shoulder pain ball lawsuits nationwide due to the manufacturers’ failure to warn about this serious complication.

The On-Q pain ball is an external pump which has been used by some doctors following arthroscopic shoulder surgery instead of narcotics.  The device administers a continuous, regulated flow of medication through a specially designed catheter which is put in place by the doctor or nurse.  It is often left in place for 2-3 days until it is no longer needed.

Many doctors used the shoulder pain ball because the it prevents the patient from changing or tampering with the flow of medication.  The shoulder pain ball is also designed to decrease breakthrough pain and shorten the amount of time it could take to return to normal activities. 

Unfortunately, the use of a shoulder pain ball to deliver a combination of bupivacain and epinephrine following arthroscopic shoulder surgery has been linked to the development of a rare, debilitating condition known as post-arthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis, or PAGCL.  The condition is associated with the permanent deterioration of shoulder cartilage.

The loss of shoulder cartilage often does not become noticeable for several months after the arthroscopic surgery.  As activities are increased and the arm is used more, popping, clicking or grinding in the shoulder joint may become apparent.  The condition is extremely painful and results in severe limitations on the use of the arm.  In many cases, individuals who used a shoulder pain ball require a total shoulder replacement.


The product liability lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. represent individuals throughout the United States who have been diagnosed with postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis or cartilage damage after using a shoulder pain ball.  Lawsuits are being pursued against the manufacturers of these pain management systems for failing to warn consumers and the medical community about the potential problems which could result from use of their device.

If you, a friend or family member have experienced problems following use of a should pain ball to manage pain after arthroscopic surgery, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.