Relieve pain and treat injuries with Stellate Ganglion Block.
The stellate ganglion is a group of sympathetic nerves located in front of the sixth and seventh cervical vertebrae in the neck. A stellate ganglion block is performed to relieve pain and to diagnose or treat nerve injuries and circulation problems such as:
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Patients may benefit from a stellate ganglion block if they have nerve pain in the head, neck, or upper arms, and chest that has not responded to other forms of treatment. The procedure is contraindicated in patients with active infections, very high blood pressure, an uncontrolled cough, or those on blood thinners.
How it’s Performed
Before the procedure, patients are typically given sedation medication through an IV to help them relax. The doctor then injects a local anesthetic to numb the area near the voice box. Some patients notice a slight burning or stinging sensation as the medication is injected; however, the discomfort is normally minimal. Using X-ray or ultrasound images for guidance, the doctor then inserts a second needle to inject anesthetic near the nerves that make up the stellate ganglion. The procedure can usually be completed in less than thirty minutes, and the patient is released the same day after being monitored for a short time for any complications.
What to Expect
Patients should wait 24 hours following the procedure before driving or engaging in strenuous activities. It is normal to have bloodshot eyes, nasal stuffiness, warmth or tingling in the arms and hands, a hoarse voice, or the sensation of a lump in the throat immediately after the procedure. These side effects normally resolve within a few hours. Patients should avoid drinking or eating until their throat sensation and swallowing reflexes are back to normal. There may also be tenderness and slight bruising at the injection site.
The effectiveness of stellate ganglion blocks varies from patient to patient. In some instances, the pain returns as the anesthetic wears off. Other patients experience results that can last for several days or weeks. The most effective results are normally obtained with a series of injections. In most cases, the duration of the pain relief increases with each injection.