Men and women who have long been bothered by pain in the face, neck, or arms might benefit from a stellate ganglion block. The procedure involves the injection of a local anesthetic into a cluster of nerves in the neck. The targeted nerves are located on both sides of the larynx. Patients can ultimately expect relief from hand pain and arm pain associated with various regional pain syndromes. Successful procedures will significantly alleviate sympathetically mediated pain and improve the quality of life for many individuals.
Overview of Procedure
The procedure itself is rather simple in scope. Once the injection area has been cleaned with an antiseptic, a chemical compound will be used to numb the region. Medical assistants will generally check the temperature of the skin beforehand to ensure successful blockade of the stellate ganglion. As long as the vital signs are normal, the appropriate local anesthetic will be injected into the stellate ganglion. From start to finish, the procedure should last around ten minutes. Patients will be asked to abstain from eating in the hours before the appointment. Blood-thinning medications should also be temporarily discontinued.
In all cases, patients will be transferred to a recovery room as soon as the procedure has been completed. Most patients will be discharged soon after. Though some individuals may experience headaches or sore throats, most men and women will recover their faculties quickly and will be able to continue on with their normal activities the next day.
A stellate ganglion block can ultimately have a number of benefits. Men and women who have been suffering from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) or reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), for example, may find it hard to avoid arm pain and hand pain. The procedure can both reduce discomfort and increase mobility. With the chronic pain significantly ameliorated, most people may ultimately become more active, which may boost their overall health in the months ahead. Whether individuals are suffering from CRPS I or CEPS II, the associated sympathetically mediated pain can be made much less severe.
There are possible risks to a stellate ganglion block, although they occur infrequently. Patients may experience insomnia, night sweats, weight gain, osteoporosis, and hyperglycemia. In very rare cases, infections and bleeding may also occur. Steroid myopathy is also possible in some instances. If people experience headaches that grow progressively worse after they have returned home, they should contact a doctor as soon as possible. Despite these risks, however, a stellate ganglion block is an eminently safe procedure that has helped many patients escape debilitating pain so that they can enjoy life once again.