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Stellate Ganglion Block

What is a stellate Ganglion Block?
Stellate ganglion block is useful for treating and/or diagnosing a number of painful conditions. It is the injection of local anesthetic into the area of a specialized nerve structure. The injection blocks sympathetic nerves. If these nerves are responsible for transmission of pain, the pain will be reduced after the injection. We perform this procedure for patients with pain in the face, neck, arms and chest.

How is a stellate Ganglion injection performed?
The procedure is done with the patient laying flat. The heart rate and blood pressure are monitored. An intravenous is started and medication for sedation may be given. The landmarks in the neck are identified then the skin in the front of the neck is cleaned. After this, the injection is performed using a small needle.

What medication is injected?
We inject a local anesthetic like lidocaine or bupivicaine.

How much time does the procedure take?
The whole procedure takes 15-20 minutes, the actual injection takes a few minutes.

How long does the effect last?
It depends on your response. Pain relief may be short lived or long lasting.

How many times do I need the injection?
After a successful response, we may recommend a series of three or more injections.

What are the risks of the procedure?
The risks include: infection, bleeding, stroke, worse pain, nerve injury, allergy to medication, bruising at the injection site, collapsed lung, seizure, permanent facial droop, temporary numbness of the neck and arm, and temporary hoarseness or difficulty swallowing.

Who should not have the injection?
If you are taking blood thinners (Coumadin, Plavix, Ticlid or others) or antibiotics, have an active infection, or have a bleeding disorder you should not have the procedure without further discussion. Please warn us of any allergies you have, especially to local anesthetics, X-ray dye and latex.

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