Stellate Ganglion Injection
What is a Stellate Ganglion Block?
Stellate Ganglion Injection is an injection of local anesthetic in the “sympathetic nerve tissue”—the nerves which are a part of Sympathetic Nervous System. The nerves are located on the either side of the voice box, in the neck.
What is the purpose of it?
The injection blocks the Sympathetic Nerves. This may in turn reduce pain, swelling, color, and sweating changes in the upper extremity and may improve mobility.
How long does the injection take?
The actual injection takes only a few minutes.
What is actually injected?
The injection consists of a local anesthetic (like lidocaine or bupivacaine).
Will the injection hurt?
The procedure involves inserting a needle through skin and deeper tissues (like a “tetanus shot”). So, there is some discomfort involved. However, we may numb the skin and deeper tissues with a local anesthetic using a very thin needle before inserting the actual block needle.
Will I be “put out” for this procedure?
No. This procedure is done under a local anesthesia.
How is the injection performed?
It is done either with the patient laying flat or slightly sitting up. The chin is slightly raised. The skin in the front of the neck, next to the “voice box” is cleaned with antiseptic solution and then the injection is carried out.
What should I expect after the injection?
Immediately after the injection, you may feel your upper extremity getting warm. In addition, you may notice that your pain may be gone or quite less. You may also notice “a lump in the throat” as well as hoarse voice, droopy and red eye, and some nasal congestion on the side of the injection. You may also develop a headache.
What should I do after the procedure?
We advise the patients to take it easy for a day or so after the procedure. Perform the activities as tolerated by you. Some of the patients may go for immediate physical therapy.
Can I go back to work the next day?
Unless there are complications, you should be able to return to your work the next day. The most common thing you may feel is soreness in the neck at the injection site.
How many injections do I need to have?
If you respond to the first injection, you will be recommended for repeat injections. Usually, a series of such injections is needed to treat the problem. Some may need only two to four and some may need more than ten. The response to such injections varies from patient to patient.
Who should not have this injection?
If you are allergic to any of the medications to be injected, if you are on a blood thinning medication (e.g. Coumadin), or if you have an active infection going on near the injection site, you should not have the injection.