FAQ’s on Celiac Plexus Block in Las Vegas

A celiac plexus block is used to treat abdominal pain. The celiac plexus is a mass of nerves located at the front of the diaphragm and behind the stomach. These nerves supply the gallbladder, pancreas, liver, spleen, stomach, kidneys, adrenal glands, intestines, and blood vessels. The block is often used to treat severe pain related to cancers of the abdomen and other chronic disorders.

What should I expect before the procedure?

Before the procedure, you must discuss your regular medications with the doctor. Because blood-thinning agents increase the bleeding risks, a person on Plavix, aspirin, or Coumadin will have to hold these drugs for several days. You should arrive at the medical facility 30 minutes before your scheduled procedure. A nurse will go over the risks and benefits of the surgery, and have you sign a form for consent. After you change into a gown, the nurse places an IV catheter in your arm to administer necessary fluids and medications.

What happens during the celiac block procedure?

The doctor will position you on your stomach and give you a mild sedative. After the skin is cleansed with an antiseptic solution, the doctor numbs the area with an anesthetic. The needle is guided into position using x-ray guidance. Once in position, a local anesthetic is injected onto the celiac plexus nerves. A neurolytic agent can be instilled for prolonged pain relief, as it destroys a portion of the nerve root.

What can I expect following the procedure?

Once the celiac plexus block procedure is over, you will be monitored by a nurse for around 20-30 minutes. It is common to feel dizzy and drowsy, due to sedatives. Many people experience a warm sensation of the abdomen, along with a feeling of fullness. It is not uncommon to experience nausea and vomiting, along with loose bowel movements.

What risks are associated with the celiac plexus block?

While the celiac plexus block is a safe, effective procedure, there are a few risk associated with it. The complications include misplaced needle, bleeding, infection, punctured vessels, collapsed lung, nerve damage, puncture of organs, and nerve paralysis.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

The celiac plexus block relieves pain associated with abdominal cancers and other chronic disorders. Clinical studies show that these blocks improve pain control and reduce the need for oral medication. Additionally, the celiac plexus block is a minimally invasive treatment used to alleviate severe pain associated with many health issues.

How effective is the celiac plexus block?

Based on several clinical studies, the success rate of this block is around 80%. The celiac plexus block helps with treating pain associated with the abdominal organs, mesentary, omentum, and intestinal tract, which runs from the stomach to the large colon.

Resources

Gunaratnam NT, Sarma AV, Norton ID, & Wiersema MJ (2001). A prospective study of EUS-guided celiac plexus neurolysis for pancreatic cancer pain. Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, 54:316–324

Ramirez-Luna MA, Chavez-Tapia NC, Franco-Guzman AM, Garcia-Saenz-de Sicilia M, & Tellez-Avila F (2008). Endoscopic ultrasound-guided celiac plexus neurolysis in patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer. Reviews Gastroenterology Medicine, 73:63–67.

Yan, B.M., & Myers, R.P. (2007). Neurolytic celiac plexus block for pain control in unresectable pancreatic cancer. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 102(2):430-438.