Studies Link Rare Ailment to Pain Pumps

New York Times:  “When the first cases popped up in orthopedic journals, they read like medical mysteries.  Surgeons around the country reported that several active young patients had suddenly developed chondrolysis, a relatively rare ailment in which joint cartilage dies, leaving bone to grind on bone.  Chondrolysis has ended the athletic careers of dozens of high school and college students.  In the most severe cases, it has required joint replacements. Many sufferers face lifetimes of pain and disability.  ‘I’ve lost so many hours of sleep over this, I can’t tell you,’ said Dr. David S. Bailie, an orthopedic surgeon in Scottsdale, Ariz., who said he had seen dozens of cases of chondrolysis since 2005.  Although it is still unknown why chondrolysis develops, several medical studies have concluded that a likely culprit is a pain pump, a postsurgical medical device used to deliver local anesthetics to a specific area through a plastic tube.”