This injection directs medication into the stellate ganglion nerves that can help relieve pain in the head, neck, upper arm and upper chest. It may also help increase the circulation and blood supply to the arm.
Is it right for me?
This treatment may be right for you if you are experiencing chronic upper extremity pain caused by conditions such as reflex sympathetic dystrophy, complex regional pain syndrome, nerve injury, herpes zoster (shingles), postherpetic neuralgia, or angina pain (that does not respond to other treatment).
What is the procedure like?
The stellate ganglion block procedure starts with you lying on your back. A pillow underneath your shoulders allows clear access to the front of your neck. Once you are comfortable, your doctor uses fluoroscopic (X-ray) guidance to make sure that the needle is properly placed. They will then inject medication (usually lidocaine or bupivacaine) into the stellate ganglion. The entire procedure takes approximately 30 minutes. If you received IV anesthetic (either full sedation or “twilight” anesthesia), you will be monitored in recovery for a short period of time before you head home for the day.
What happens after the procedure?
Your doctor will provide specific recovery instructions to you, but in general it’s best to rest for 24 hours after the stellate ganglion block procedure. You can sip water as your throat begins to feel normal. Solid food may be challenging, so stick to nourishing soups and other soft foods for at least four hours after the procedure. Many will experience pain relief almost immediately but this may be due in part to the anesthetic you receive during the injection and could wear off. For others, pain relief may be instantaneous and long-lasting.