Stellate Ganglion Block for complex regional pain syndrome affecting the upper extremities

Who would benefit from this procedure?

Individuals that experience pain after trauma affecting the upper extremities.  Typically, people complain of swelling, tenderness to touch, sweating of limb, color changes and side to side temperature changes among other symptoms in the effected extremity.

How does this procedure work?

This injection blocks the sympathetic nerve that contribute to the experienced discomfort secondary to their irritation.

How is this procedure done?

The patient will be asked to lie on his/her back. The skin is first cleaned in proper surgical sterile fashion, an area in the neck is than anesthetized for our target, this is followed by placement of needle under x-ray guidance to its target.  A mixture of local anesthetic and at times with added steroid is injected.

What are the potential risks?

Although this is a very safe procedure, it is not without risk.  Whenever a needle is used there is always the risk of infection and bleeding.  Although rare, there is also risk for nerve root injury, injury to vascular structures such as the vertebral artery or collapsed lung.

Patient will have Temporary drooping of eye lid on the procedure side, voice change, swallowing difficulty weakness and numbness that resolves after the effect of the local anesthetic subsides.

What should I expect after the procedure?

It is normal to experience temporary soreness at the need placement sites. If effective, patient will experience warmth in the cold extremity along with reduced swelling and pain relief.

This procedure should also be followed by physical therapy which will improve the overall outcome from this condition.