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Stellate Ganglion Block

Deschutes Surgery Center, LLC

Surgery Center located in Bend, OR

When you have chronic or unbearable pain in your head, neck, upper arm, or upper chest, you may benefit from a stellate ganglion block. The providers at Deschutes Surgery Center, LLC, specialize in minimally invasive procedures like a stellate ganglion block that relieve pain when it persists despite medical treatment. To learn more about effective pain relief, contact the surgery center at Central Oregon Spine & Sports in Bend, Oregon.

Stellate Ganglion Block Q & A

What is a stellate ganglion block?

The stellate ganglion is a small group of sympathetic nerves located in the front of your neck near your voice box. A stellate ganglion block is a minimally invasive procedure in which a local anesthetic is injected at the cluster of nerves.

The anesthetic blocks nerve signals so they no longer send pain messages to your brain. As a result, your pain is relieved. The injection may also help increase circulation to your arm.

What pain conditions are treated with a stellate ganglion block?

A stellate ganglion block may be used to relieve pain in your head, neck, upper arm, and upper chest that’s caused by conditions such as:

  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (affecting the upper limbs)
  • Herpes zoster infection (shingles)
  • Phantom limb pain
  • Post-herpetic neuralgia
  • Cluster or vascular headaches
  • Intractable angina
  • Peripheral vascular disease

In some cases, injury or chronic pain sensitize the sympathetic nerves, causing pain that may be relieved by a stellate ganglion block.

What should I expect during a stellate ganglion block?

A stellate ganglion block is usually done using a local anesthetic and a sedative to help you relax and feel comfortable. As you lie on your back, your doctor at Deschutes Surgery Center uses a real-time X-ray called fluoroscopy to see the needle and guide it to the stellate ganglion. Once the needle is in place, the anesthetic is injected.

After your procedure, you stay at the surgery center for a time, but you’ll be able to go home the same day. You may develop hoarseness or a slight droop around your eyelid. These side effects are normal and only last a few hours.

How long will my results last after a stellate ganglion block?

The length of time you’ll be free from pain is impossible to predict because it’s different for each patient. Some patients experience short-lived relief, while others are pain-free for days or weeks. You may need a series of injections to improve the results. Your relief lasts longer with each additional stellate ganglion block.

To learn whether you’re a good candidate for a stellate ganglion block, contact Deschutes Surgery Center at Central Oregon Spine & Sports.