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Stellate Ganglion Block

A stellate ganglion block is an injection of a local anesthetic (numbing medication) around the stellate group of nerves in the neck under fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance to relieve pain. The pain relief will affect one side of the head and neck, the upper arm, and the upper part of the chest on the same side of the body. A stellate ganglion block may be performed to decrease pain and increase the circulation and blood supply to the affected arm.

Procedure Preparation

There is very little preparation needed for this procedure. In fact, you may decide to go ahead with this procedure during your initial consultation in our Midtown Manhattan outpatient clinic. The procedure will be fully explained to you before you decide to proceed.

This procedure will be done in a hospital setting. After your initial consultation in our office, you will set up an appointment with our staff for a local surgical center or hospital.

Please bring any previous imaging study results (MRI, CT, x-rays) such as films, reports, or CD-ROMs to your initial appointment. If you do not have current images, we may refer you to have them done prior to the procedure.

If you come by car, you will need a driver to take you home after your appointment. If you decide to have IV sedation, you will need an adult to accompany you home and be with you for 12 hours after the procedure.

Please notify our physician if you are nursing or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.

Please be prepared to discuss any medications that you are currently on with our physician, or bring your medication bottles with you to your appointment.

During the Procedure

Our physician performs this procedure in a local hospital or surgery center.

You will be awake during the procedure to provide important feedback to the physician, but you will be under a sedative to diminish your anxiety and any discomfort.

You will lie on your back with your head tilted slightly back and supported by a pillow.

A local skin anesthetic (numbing medication) will be applied near the base of the neck on the affected side.

A needle will be inserted using x-ray-guidance (fluoroscopy) by the physician near the appropriate vertebrae in the cervical spine. X-ray guidance ensures accurate placement of the needle.

A sterile tube will be attached to the needle and anesthetic medication is slowly injected through the tubing.

It takes less than 30 minutes for the procedure, which will be followed by evaluation and recovery for several hours.

After the Procedure

You may note increased warmth and redness of the painful arm during and after the injection.

Expect hoarseness, redness of the eye, drooping of the eyelid, and pupil constriction, which may affect your vision, for 4-8 hours.

Pain relief may be noted immediately. Duration of relief is variable. Please assess your pain relief over the first three to four hours after the injection and report this to back to us.

A full course of physical therapy will help you to fully recover, strengthen your back and core muscles, and to maximize your recovery.