Stellate Ganglion Block

Stellate ganglion block is a procedure performed to decrease pain and increase the blood supply caused by complex regional pain syndrome, phantom limb pain, and other nerve injuries. Stellate ganglions are groups of nerves in the neck that sense pain from the arms and face. The block is an injection of a numbing medicine and sometimes a steroid medication into this ganglion group. The pain relief affects one side of the head and neck, the upper arm, and the upper chest on the same side of the body. It is performed by pain specialists. In the outpatient procedure, patients are positioned on an x-ray table on their back. A small intravenous (IV) line is started in one hand, and then the doctor numbs a small area of skin using x-ray guidance. Contrast (dye) is utilized to confirm proper needle positioning at the site of the stellate ganglion. After a 30-minute recovery period the patient may be discharged. Patients should be accompanied by someone at discharge and limit their activity the day of the procedure.

Treating pain effectively requires comprehensive and specialized care. The physicians and staff of the UAB Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine offer the latest in pain management techniques, backed by the expertise, knowledge, and research of one of the country’s largest academic medical centers. In both the hospital and the clinic, the needs of each patient are carefully considered, and we design each treatment plan to provide the best possible results.

We understand that relief from pain is critical to recovery. Our approach combines compassionate care with image-guided procedures, physical therapy, psychological assistance, medication, and ongoing consults with your primary care physicians. Our program puts less emphasis on opioid medications and tries to help patients improve their enjoyment of life by focusing on daily exercise, better nutrition, and stress reduction through cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques.

Our innovative physicians and researchers continue to advance the field of pain management with studies that explore new therapies and treatment approaches, which may give patients access to treatments not yet available at most medical centers. We work closely with the departments of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Orthopaedics, Neurology, Psychiatry, and Palliative Care to provide complete care for our patients.

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