Stellate Ganglion Block Injection

Stellate Ganglion Block Injection

The stellate ganglion block injection can both diagnose and treat pain coming from the sympathetic nerves.  It is a common treat for shingles and complex regional pain syndromes affecting the head, face, neck, or arms.  Usually a series of these injections is needed to treat the problem.

Procedure

Patients lie on their back on a table equipped with a special x-ray (fluoroscopic) unit, and an intravenous (IV) line is started to administer medication that relaxes the patient.  A local anesthetic numbs the skin and all the tissue down to the ganglion nerves.

The physician slides a needle through the anesthetized track.  A contrast solution is injected so the physician can use an x-ray (fluoroscope) to see the painful areas and to confirm the correct location of the needle tip.  Next, a mixture of anesthetic, saline and anti-inflammatory medicine is injected around the ganglion nerves to block pain signals from reaching the brain.

Side Effects

Common side effects of a stellate ganglion block injection include nasal congestion and a bloodshot, droopy eye on the side of the injection was giving, as well as a hoarse voice and a warm tingling sensation in the arm and hand.  They usually disappear after several hours.  If the first injection alleviates pain, more will follow over time.  Pain relief usually lasts longer after each injection.

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Comprehensive Pain Management Center