Stellate Ganglion Block Injections
The stellate ganglion is a collection of nerves, called sympathetic nerves, found in front of the last vertebra of the neck. Sympathetic nerves control our “fight or flight” response. They are part of the nervous system that affects the face and arms but are not involved with feeling or movement. Sometimes, after trauma, infection or other causes, these nerves transmit pain. Caliber Pain™ offers stellate ganglion block injections that can offer pain relief at our clinic in Midtown Manhattan.
Blocking the sympathetic activity by anesthetizing the nerves may stop pain. A stellate ganglion block (sympathetic block) is an injection of local anesthetic into the front of the neck to target the nerves sending pain signals.
A stellate ganglion block is done to:
- Diagnose the cause of pain in the face and head, arms and chest
- Reduce swelling in the face, head, arms and hands
- Treat complex regional pain syndrome
A stellate ganglion block can be diagnostic and therapeutic. By administering numbing medicine in the stellate ganglion, we can gauge the amount of immediate pain relief you experience. If the head, arm or chest pain goes away completely or to a great degree, we can confirm the source of pain.
Along with the numbing medication, a therapeutic option, like a steroid, can also be injected into the afflicted area to reduce inflammation, promote healing and provide long term pain relief.
How a Stellate Ganglion Block Is Performed
During a stellate ganglion block, pain-relieving medicine is injected to the region where the ganglion lies. This may reduce the release of the chemicals activating the pain sensitive nerves and reduce the pain.
Caliber Pain™ performs this procedure on an outpatient basis in a treatment room equipped with ultrasound guidance or fluoroscopic x-ray technology.
- In the pre-procedure area, the nurse or doctor will place an IV line. This is used for fluids and sedation if needed.
- When you get to the procedure room you will be connected to monitoring equipment (EKG monitor, blood pressure cuff and blood oxygen monitoring device).
- You will be positioned comfortably.
- The injection site is cleansed with antiseptic soap, after which our doctor will inject numbing medicine that causes a slight burning sensation for a few seconds.
- Contrast dye is injected to confirm that medication is administered in the correct space.
- A mixture of anesthetic (for temporary pain relief) and steroid (for longer-term relief) is administered. Autologous therapy may be an option for long term healing.
- You will be monitored for 20-30 minutes in the recovery room.
- You will be given verbal and written discharge instructions.
- If you have had sedation you must be accompanied by a responsible adult, 18 or over, to drive you home or ride with you in a taxi.
You will not feel numbness in your face. You may have a droop and redness of the eye, feel warmth in your face and experience hoarseness. These effects are temporary. Pain relief may also not be immediate. You should maintain a pain diary following the procedure to track your response.
If you have head, neck, arm or chest pain caused by nerve irritation in the ganglion stellate, interventional treatments may offer relief. Contact Caliber Pain™ in NYC to learn more about stellate ganglion block injections for nerve pain relief.