Postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis is a condition in which the cartilage located within the shoulder joint begins to deteriorate. This typically occurs after an individual has had surgery on the affected shoulder. The condition generally affects the glenohumeral joint, which is the joint at the end of the shoulder comprised of the socket of the shoulder blade and the ball of the arm bone. The cartilage between these two portions of the arm and shoulder is the site affected by postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis. As the cartilage begins to deteriorate due to the condition, the individual starts to experience the complications associated with the disorder.
Individuals diagnosed with postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis experience stiffness and pain in the shoulder that has been affected by the condition and in some cases, they can lose the ability to move or use the affected shoulder. The cartilage in the shoulder joint is what allows the joint to move freely and smoothly. As the cartilage in the shoulder joint begins to disappear, the joint does not move as smoothly and the bones that were protected by the cartilage begin to grind together, causing friction and pain. The individual will experience pain both when the shoulder is in motion and when the shoulder is still. The individual will also experience a decrease in their range of motion and weakness in the affected shoulder.
Postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis typically occurs months after the individual has undergone a procedure called shoulder arthroscopy. This procedure is a surgical procedure used to diagnose or treat issues that may be occurring in the joint of the shoulder. During the procedure, a small incision is made in the skin of the shoulder to allow the insertion of a small camera and lighting apparatus. The camera then relays images of the inside of the shoulder to a television screen in the operation room. This allows the physician to see what is causing the issue and, in some cases, surgically correct the problem using miniature surgical tools. Complications arising from this procedure typically affect around 1% of the individuals that undergo this type of surgery.
In some cases, a disposable pain pump that dispenses pain medication directly into the site of the shoulder arthroscopy is used to control the amount of pain the patient experiences after the procedure has been completed. This technique of pain control is typically used for two to three days after the procedure and then removed to allow the surgical site to heal more naturally. The development of postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis has been closely associated with the use of a shoulder pain pump after an individual has undergone shoulder arthroscopy. Many experts believe that the condition is a result of the large amounts of pain medications that are being pumped directly into the shoulder by the pain pump. The severity of postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis can range from mild to severe cartilage loss. In the severe cases, the only recourse for the individual affected is surgery to replace the affected shoulder.