Stellate Ganglion Block

What is a Stellate ganglion block?

A Stellate Ganglion block is a nerve block at the front of the neck. The Stellate Ganglion nerves control nerve sensitivity in the upper limb and the face. It is performed under sedation, and with the help of X-Ray.

The aim of the injection is to reduce neuropathic (nerve) pain in the arm or face.

It is normal practice to perform a series of blocks (normally 3 blocks over 3-6 weeks). This tends to increase the duration of any benefit that occurs.

Sometimes we add a pulsed radiofrequency treatment through the same needle, with no extra side effects. This may prolong the period of benefit from any nerve block. For more information please refer to the Pulsed Radiofrequency Neurotomy information sheet.

How long will I be in hospital?

The procedure is short (about 10-15 minutes). Your day hospital stay will normally be about 2-3 hours in total.

What to expect afterwards:

There can be some local discomfort in the neck for 24-48 hours.

The Stellate Ganglion and nearby nerves also effect speech, swallowing, and eye muscles. It is normal to have a hoarse voice, a droopy eyelid, and altered swallowing for up to 24 hours after the procedure.

Arm numbness and weakness occurs in rare circumstances. This occurs if the injection also enters the nearby epidural space of the spine.

The staff will ensure you can safely swallow water, and that you are comfortable before you leave.

Are there any complications?

Very rare but serious complications can occur: it is possible to cause severe neck swelling, or a punctured lung during the injection. These are potentially life threatening emergencies. We have never seen either of these events.

For other possible complications please refer to the Spinal Injections information sheet.

After the injection.

The NIPM nurses will call you the morning after the procedure to assess your response and arrange follow up.

If you experience any severe pain, weakness or numbness, swelling, fevers, chills, severe headaches, bleeding /discharge from the wounds, or if you have any other concerns then please contact NIPM or the Day Hospital centre. If for some reason it is not possible to get in touch, please see your GP or attend your local emergency department for assessment.

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