Stellate Ganglion Blocks/ Sympathetic Blocks

What is it?

An injection performed to confirm/diagnose (treat) that the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for arm or leg pain. For example, pain caused with reflex sympathetic dystrophy or complex regional pain syndrome.

How is it done?

An I.V. will be started in your hand or arm. A local skin anesthetic is given. A needle is then inserted using fluoroscopy (x-ray) down to the cervical (SGB) or lumbar (LSB) sympathetic nerve chain. Injectate will then be delivered to the region (Local anesthetic and corticosteroid).

Expected results:

A decrease in, or relief of pain. A specific pain diary needs to be kept for the first 48 hours following the injection.

How long does it take?

Thirty minutes plus approximately thirty minutes for recovery time. Please take your usual medication with a small sip of water unless otherwise instructed.

Risks involved:

Risks include increased pain, headache, bleeding, infection, a reaction to any medications used, nerve damage, paraplegia/quadriplegia, or death.

Side effects:

  • Mild back or neck ache lasting a few days
  • Bruising of the skin and tenderness at the injection site
  • Short-term headache, salt retention with temporary weight gain
  • Rare emotional changes: elation, hyperactivity, anger, depression

 

  • YOU WILL NEED SOMEONE TO DRIVE YOU TO AND FROM THE SURGICAL CENTER
  • NO FOOD OR DRINK FOR 6-HOURS PRIOR TO THE SCHEDULED TIME OF YOUR INJECTION
  • HOLD ASPIRIN FOR 7 DAYS AND HOLD NSAID’S (Naproxen, Ibuprofen) FOR 3 DAYS PRIOR TO INJECTION.
  • FOR BLOOD THINNERS (Coumadin, Heparin, Plavix) SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR FOR SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS.

Patient Instructions:

  • No driving for the rest of the day.
  • Apply ice to the area every 15 minutes as needed.
  • Continue exercises and stretches as before and as tolerated by pain.
  • Drink extra fluids for the next 24 hours.
  • Take pain medication if needed as prescribed.
  • Monitor your level of pain or pain relief from the time the injection is completed.
  • Guard the affected area if numbness is present.
  • Follow up as directed
  • IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS, PLEASE CALL 303-423-8334

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