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Sympathetic Nerve Blocks

Stellate Ganglion Block

Reasons to perform the procedure:

The stellate ganglion is a group of nerves that supply the head, upper extremities, and organs of the chest.  A stellate ganglion block may be performed to determine the cause of pain in these areas, or to treat pain.

Before the procedure:

You will be informed where and when to report for the procedure.  You may be asked not to eat or drink after midnight the night before.  You will be examined by your doctor and asked to rate your pain.

Description of the procedure:

Your consent will be obtained, and an intravenous (IV) catheter will be placed in your arm.  You will lie on your back for the procedure.  Your neck will be cleaned with antiseptic and numbed with medication.  A needle will be inserted into your neck usually under x-ray guidance near the stellate ganglion, and local anesthetic (numbing medication) will be injected.

After the procedure:

You will be asked to rate your pain.  Your IV will be discontinued, and you will be discharged home.  Drooping of your eyelid and redness of the eye on the affected side is expected and only temporary.

Potential Complications:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Collapsed lung
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Seizures
  • Hoarseness of voice                    

Follow-up:

You will be given a pain diary to help you keep track of your pain.  You will receive further instructions from your doctor.

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