Addressing Pain the Advanced Way
Pain is an inevitable human experience. But chronic pain that is not manageable with the simple administration of an analgesic or any conservative pain management calls for advanced pain intervention at a Las Vegas Pain Management clinic.
The stellate ganglion is a sympathetic nerve chain supplying nerve impulses to the head, neck, chest and arms. Initially, a stellate ganglion block is a type of nerve block diagnostic procedure which is done to determine the source of a patient’s pain and in the process, provide a temporary pain relief for the duration of the nerve block.
Simple Yet Complicated
For a procedure that takes only 5-10 minutes to complete, it is a highly complicated medical procedure. It is therapeutically indicated for chronic pain conditions, such as refractory chest pain or angina, herpes zoster affecting the face and neck, and trauma.
This is also to prevent subsequent pain in phantom limb pain and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Stellate ganglion block is also indicated for prognostic purposes to determine if a more permanent treatment such as surgery can be successful to treat vasospasm, embolic phenomenon, Raynaud’s phenomenon, scleroderma, obliterative vascular disease and frost bites. The reason is the anatomical location of the area involved.
As the patient is placed lying on his back with the neck extended, the local anaesthetic or steroid is injected using a 25-gauge needle introduced between the trachea and the carotid sheath or at the head of the first rib adjacent to the vertebral artery. The procedure is often performed with image guidance to assist the pain management doctor in Las Vegas and avoid misplacement of the needle and puncturing adjacent major arteries and veins.
Structures including the internal jugular vein, carotid artery, thyroid artery, vagus nerve and brachial plexus are life-threatening if punctured. To guide the direction of the needle, the usual landmark technique may not be too reliable. During a fluoroscopy assisted procedure, a radiopaque dye is injected to further visualize and confirm the needles position. In some cases, an ultrasound image can be used. Once all possible vascular injection is ruled out, the local anaesthetic with the steroid is then injected.
Once the procedure is done and the patient is brought to the recovery room, monitoring for signs of complications will be even more vital. Blood pressure monitoring, pulse rate, pain score level, and skin temperature changes on the affected arm are crucial baseline data. As the local anaesthetic takes its full effect, any of the following signs can be experienced; hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing, “bloodshot” eyes, nasal stuffiness, and tingling sensation in the hand. As the medication wears off, these symptoms will eventually disappear.
Stellate Ganglion Blocks may be very effective for alleviating pain from refractory chest pain or angina, herpes zoster affecting the face and neck, RSD and CRPS. The pain may be relieved for weeks to months at a time, and then be followed up with a radiofrequency ablation.
If you or a loved one is experiencing persistent pain from suspected RSD, angina, herpes zoster or unknown reason, call the best Las Vegas pain management clinics today at (702) 323-0553.