Stellate Ganglion (Sympathetic) Nerve Block Injection

What is a Stellate Ganglion Nerve Block Injection?

A stellate ganglion block, also known as a sympathetic nerve block, is an injection that serves the dual purpose of diagnosing and treating certain conditions. The injection traditionally contains an anesthetic and a steroid agent utilized to decrease inflammation and alleviate pain in some cases. From a diagnostic point of view, this nerve block can properly diagnose pain in the head, neck, arm, or chest regions and determine if circulation issues can be improved with some conditions.

Patients who suffer from neuropathy may benefit from this form of treatment. Neuropathy is a disorder that impedes the proper function of the nerves. It often causes pain when there is no triggering source or prevents sensation when there is an actual stimulus by failing to send signals to the brain. This disorder can result from various factors, including injuries and medical conditions. The most commonly reported symptoms include sharp pains, tingling, and numbness.

How Do Stellate Ganglion Nerve Block Injections Work?

At the start of the procedure, we will monitor your vitals and begin an intravenous (IV) line. After proper sterilization of the area, a local anesthetic is administered to minimize discomfort at the injection site. A small needle is then inserted into the neck with the aid of fluoroscopy, a type of x-ray guidance. Once correct placement has been confirmed, your physician will inject the anesthetic and/or steroid. The combination of these two medicines can help lower inflammation and provide pain relief.

This minimally invasive procedure is usually performed in just a few minutes, followed by a small recovery period before being discharged. Numbness immediately after the injection is to be expected and will dissipate in a matter of hours. We do not recommend that you drive or do any strenuous activity for the first 24 hours after the procedure. Those who receive a stellate ganglion nerve block injection often experience immediate relief, but this is the result of the anesthetics. Once these wear off, it takes 2 to 3 days for the steroids to take effect and provide long-term relief.

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How to Prepare for Stellate Ganglion Nerve Block Injections

Your physician must conduct a thorough medical examination and carefully evaluate your medical and family history to successfully determine your eligibility to receive a lumbar sympathetic nerve block injection. This step is crucial as corticosteroids may temporarily elevate blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and affect patients with bleeding problems. Our physicians will also inquire about the type of medications you are currently taking to determine if you must stop taking before the procedure.

Depending on the symptoms, and to experience relief for longer, patients may need to receive more than one injection. If you or anyone you know is currently suffering from any of the previously discussed symptoms, we encourage you to reach out to our team today. Our expert interventional pain specialists possess decades of experience in pain management and treatment. We would be happy to answer any question or concern you may have about your condition and the treatment options we offer.

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