About The Treatment
A stellate ganglion block is an injection of local anesthetic in the sympathetic nerve tissue of the neck. These nerves are a part of the sympathetic nervous system. The nerves are located on either side of the voice box, in the neck.
This treatment is performed to block the sympathetic nerves that go to the arms, and to some degree, the sympathetic nerves that go to the face. This may in turn reduce pain, swelling, color and sweating changes in the upper extremity and may improve mobility. It is done as a part of the treatment of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), Sympathetic Maintained Pain, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Herpes Zoster (shingles) involving an arm or the head and face.
It is performed with the patient slightly sitting up. The chin is slightly raised and turned away from the side to be injected. The patients are monitored with EKG, blood pressure cuff and an oxygen-monitoring device. Temperature sensing probes are also placed on your hands. The skin in the front of the neck, next to the “voice box” is cleaned with antiseptic solution and then the injection is carried out.
After The Treatment
Following the procedure, which ordinarily takes only 15 minutes, the patient will be monitored for changes in vital signs (pulse, blood pressure, temperature) and placed in a sitting position to facilitate the spread of the anesthetic. In addition, your Desert Pain Specialists provider will evaluate the effects of the nerve block upon the patient’s pain. If the nerve block alleviates the patient’s pain and remains in effect beyond the duration of the anesthetic, the physician may determine that the blockade has therapeutic value for the patient and prescribe a treatment plan involving subsequent injections. The physician may also recommend more permanent forms of pain relief such as administration of neurolytic agents or radiofrequency ablation(RFA).