A stellate ganglion block is used to diagnose and/or treat circulation problems and nerve injuries. The block is performed by injecting local anesthetic in the sympathetic nerve tissue of the neck, which supply’s the arms. This may in turn reduce pain, swelling, color and sweating changes in the arms, and may improve mobility.
What does it treat?
A Stellate Ganglion Block is used both as a diagnostic tool as well as a treatment for conditions of the arms and face. In some instances, certain injuries to the arms can cause a burning, unusual pain called complex regional pain syndrome or reflex sympathetic dystrophy, which stellate ganglion blocks are commonly utilized to treat. It is done as a part of the treatment of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), Sympathetic Maintained Pain, Herpes Zoster (shingles), and Phantom Limb Pain.
How is it performed?
You will arrive in the procedure suite where you’ll lie on your back on an x-ray table and your neck will be cleansed. The doctor will insert a thin needle into the front of your neck, near your voice box, and inject a local anesthetic to numb the skin. Then, with x-ray guidance, a second needle will be inserted, and guided using the x-ray to the correct location. Next, contrast dye will be injected to confirm the location. Local anesthetic and steroid will then be injected into the area of the stellate ganglion. Usually, the procedure takes less than 15 minutes, and you can go home the same day after being monitored in the recovery room for a short period of time. Injecting a small amount of local anesthetic on the stellate ganglion can identify whether or not this pain is carried by the sympathetic nervous system.