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Stellate Ganglion Block - Spine Center of Texas
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Stellate Ganglion Block

A doctor may inject a stellate ganglion block into the front of the neck if a patient is suffering from reflex sympathetic dystrophy, herpes zoster, causalgia, or intractable angina. These medical conditions cause pain in the arm, chest, neck, or head. Patients with circulation problems caused by CREST or Raynaud’s may also need to be injected with the block in an attempt to improve the blood flow.

Therapeutic and Diagnostic Values of Stellate Ganglion Block

As an injection of stellate ganglion block is therapeutic and/or diagnostic, one of these things may happen if the block is injected into a patient:

  • A patient is not relieved from pain, because he or she is not suffering from a sympathetic block (diagnostic value)
  • A patient is not relieved from pain, and there is not enough evidence of the patient suffering from a sympathetic block (diagnostic value)
  • A patient is relieved from pain, and the relief from pain continues longer than the life of the anaesthetic (therapeutic value)

When a stellate ganglion block proves to be therapeutic, just like in scenario number 3, it will be injected again into patient for a long lasting benefit. The interval of the injections depends on how long pain relief is maintained after an injection. Normally a patient is relieved from pain longer as the number of injections increases.

The injection itself is given using a needle that is very small, so it does not hurt much. However, the local anaesthetic can cause burns/stings. A patient may also be slightly uncomfortable during the procedure, because the doctor giving the injection will need to press on the patient’s neck to determine the area that needs to be injected. The after effects of the injection include bruises or a tender feeling in the neck, drooping of one more eyes, which may change a patient’s sense of balance, and hoarseness.