FAQ’s on Stellate Ganglion Nerve Block in Las Vegas NV

A stellate ganglion block is use to relieve the pain associated with the upper extremities. This injection technique targets the stellate ganglion, which is a bundle of sympathetic nerves that innervate the hands and arms.

What conditions can be treated using the stellate ganglion block?

The stellate ganglion block will destroy a portion of the nerves that supply the upper extremities. This is done so pain signals will not be transmitted to the brain. This block is used to treat complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), which occurs following trauma or injury to a hand or portion of the extremity.

What medications are used during the stellate ganglion block procedure?

A local anesthetic (lidocaine or bupivacaine) is used to numb the skin and also is injected onto the stellate ganglion nerves. A neurolytic agent destroys a portion of the nerve root, and these include absolute alcohol and phenol. A mild sedative is given during the procedure, so most people are comfortable.

Will the stellate ganglion block procedure hurt?

The doctor firsts numbs the skin with a small needle and an anesthetic, which causes a mild burning and pinching sensation. Once the skin is numb, expect to feel slight pressure over the injection site. Mild pain could occur when medications are injected, but this is only for a short period of time.

How do I prepare for the stellate ganglion block?

Before the stellate ganglion block, you should notify the doctor of all medications you are taking. When you arrive at the medical center, you must change into a gown, and the nurse places an IV catheter in your arm. The nurse will discuss the pros and cons of the stellate ganglion block and have you sign a consent form.

How is the stellate ganglion procedure done?

The doctor has you lie on your back, and a nurse connects monitoring devices to assess blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen level. The doctor first cleans the skin on the side of the neck, and the injection needle is guided into the area using real-time x-ray (fluoroscopy). Once positioned near the stellate ganglion nerves, once positioned, the medication is injected onto the nerves.

What happens after the stellate ganglion block?

Expect some soreness and drowsiness following the injection. Immediately following the procedure, a nurse monitors the condition and evaluates the pain. Common side effects include slight eye redness, temporary hoarseness, slight eye dropping on the injected side. This only lasts for a couple of hours.

How long does the effectiveness last?

The stellate ganglion block has an efficacy rate of 90-100%. For some patients, the sympathetic nerves are destroyed. Repeat injections are sometimes necessary. Researchers found that the stellate ganglion block improves wrist range of motion in all patients, and can provide long-lasting pain relief (up to three years).

What complications and risks are associated with the stellate ganglion block?

The stellate ganglion block is a safe, effective procedure, but there are some risks to consider. While rare, these include puncture of the dural sac (leaking of spinal fluid), bleeding, infection, blood vessel injury, no pain relief, and nerve damage.

Who cannot have the stellate ganglion block injections?

People who are allergic to neurolytic agents and anesthetics cannot have the stellate ganglion block. Blood-thinning agents must be held before the procedure for 4-7 days, including Plavix, Coumadin, and Heparin. Because x-ray technology is used, pregnant women should avoid this procedure.

Resources

Ackerman WE & Zhang JM (2006). Efficacy of Stellate Ganglion Blockade for the Management of Type 1 Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Southern Medical Association.

Yucel, I, Demiraran, Y, Ozturan, K, & Degirmenci, E (2009). Complex regional pain syndrome type I: efficacy of stellate ganglion blockade. Journal of Ortho Traumatology, 19(4), 179-83.