Stellate Ganglion Block

The region of stellate ganglion is nothing but a mass of nerve tissue clustered together to form the first thoracic ganglia and inferior cervical. In some instances it might result into over excitement in sympathetic stimuli, which lands up causing pain. Whereas, a stellate ganglion block or sympathetic block is a type of local anesthetic that is injected to the front necks typically suggested by your doctor.

This procedure is able to identify the underlying pain and has a therapeutic value to relieve patients from the debilitating pain.

There are three instances which might happen with a stellate ganglion block –

  • Pain does not go away and you will have an evidence of a sympathetic block as it is not responsive
  • Pain does not go away as the block might be a technical failure
  • Pain does go away after the injection and stays away longer that local anethetic’s life, the block becomes a boon of therapeutic value.

Conditions Benefits from a Stellate Ganglion Block

It is used in order to mainly treat conditions such as –

  • Complex Regional Pain Disorder
  • Found effective in relieving pain from herpes zoster, refractory angina, as we as phantom limb pain
  • Even popular to treat symptoms like vasospasm, Raynaud syndrome, venous insufficiency and emboli
  • Even at times it is effective for treating survivors of breast cancer and hot flushes in menopausal women
  • It also relieves the symptoms such as anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • While it is highly effective to treat refractory cerebral vasospasm after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage

Risks Associated

The risk associated with this includes a number of side effects such as –

  • Seizure when the medication injected into blood vessel
  • Collapsed lung
  • Numb arm that lasts for hours
  • Temporary weakness or numbness down the neck
  • Allergies, and nerve damages
  • Bruising at the injection site

How the Procedure is performed?

The doctor performs the procedure under sedation; local anesthesia may be used sometimes. Some of the vital signs include heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate. Local anesthesia is applied in order to numb the injection site and insertion will be prepared with a specially formulated antiseptic solution and the area surrounding nearby will be covered to boost sterility.

Well, the needle insertion is carried out by fluoroscopic as well as other imaging guidance (like CT scans, MRI and ultrasound). Technique such as blind, one of the traditional methods will be guided by a trained physician, but this method includes high chances of failure and leads to potential adverse effects.

The process usually needs 15 – 30 minutes which depends on the circumstances of the situation. Patient is generally kept under observation period recovery for 30 minutes and even more.