Subacromial pain pump use with arthroscopic shoulder surgery: a short-term prospective study of complications in 583 patients

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2008 Nov-Dec;17(6):860-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2008.03.011. Epub 2008 Jul 25.


Pain pumps containing local anesthetics, with or without opioids, can be used for perioperative analgesia after arthroscopic shoulder surgery to reduce pain. Although several smaller studies have demonstrated the analgesic properties, no large series to date has reported the short-term complication rate of subacromial pain pumps. We prospectively studied (2005 to 2007) 583 patients who underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery at a single outpatient surgery center and had intraoperative placement of a pain pump catheter into the subacromial space. Patients had at least 1 month of follow-up. No patient received perioperative brachial plexus regional anesthesia. There were no cases of infection, internal catheter breakage, pump failure, or hospital admission for pain control. The only complication was external catheter breakage that occurred when a patient attempted to remove the pump without removing the tape fastening the catheter at the skin. Subacromial pain pumps used for arthroscopic shoulder procedures are safe in the short-term.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesia, Patient-Controlled
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage*
  • Arthroscopy*
  • Bupivacaine / administration & dosage*
  • Decompression, Surgical / methods
  • Equipment Failure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infusion Pumps, Implantable* / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Block / methods
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries*
  • Shoulder Joint / surgery
  • Young Adult


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Bupivacaine