What is the celiac plexus block?
The celiac plexus block is an injection into or around your celiac plexus nerves, which surround the main artery inside of your abdomen. These nerves are responsible for controlling nerve function and in some cases, they carry pain information from your abdominal organ tissues to your brain or spinal cord.
What is the purpose of this block?
The celiac plexus block is performed at a pain clinic in order to block the nerves which move pain signals to various organs from the abdomen. This can be done by pain management doctors in an effort to reduce pain inside of your abdomen. This is typically a pain treatment for chronic abdomen pain or chronic pancreatitis.
How long does the celiac plexus block take to complete?
Once your procedure begins, the process takes between ten and thirty minutes to be injected.
What is injected into the body?
With the celiac plexus block there is a local anesthetic injected into your body. In some cases the doctors might add a steroid medication or epinephrine in order to prolong the effects of the block.
Will the procedure hurt?
This procedure requires that a needle be inserted through your skin and your deeper tissues. So in this sense, there is some pain involved but the skin and the deeper tissues can be numbed using a local anesthetic that requires a thin needle prior to the actual celiac plexus block needle being inserted. In many cases, patients will receive an IV sedation which makes the entire process a much more tolerable one.
Will a patient be “out” for this procedure?
No, for the celiac plexus block there is not general anesthesia used but a local anesthetic. Many patients receive a mild form of sedation to make the process more bearable and the amount of sedation used is really based on the tolerance of the patient. Some patients may have adequate amounts of sedation that they only remember parts of the procedure, or none of it.
How is this process done?
For this procedure, at the Las Vegas pain clinic the patient lies on their stomach. They are monitored using an EKG machine with an oxygen monitoring device and a blood pressure cuff in most cases. The celiac plexus block is performed with sterile medical conditions. The skin on the back will be cleaned with an antiseptic and the skin will be numbed with the anesthesia. The x-ray is taken to guide the needle into the right position outside of the body. Once the needle is in place, dye is used to confirm that the injected medication will reach the appropriate area. Once this is confirmed, the injection will take place. The x-ray will be used to determine how effective the injection was. Once a sufficient area is covered, the process is complete. The needle is removed and proper coverings administered to the area of injection.
What is expected after the celiac plexus block?
After this procedure the abdomen may feel warm. There may be temporary weakness in that area, but after a few hours the pain will become decidedly less or may be gone entirely.