Celiac plexus blocks are injections that help alleviate pain in the stomach. Chronic pancreatitis or cancer are leading causes of abdominal pain. The celiac plexus is a group of nerves that surrounds the main artery in the abdomen, which is known as the aorta.
How is the Procedure Done
The doctor will instruct you to lie on your stomach and administer a local anesthetic to numb the area. A celiac plexus block injection is broken down into a few steps:
- The doctor inserts a needle into your back
- Another needle is injected on the other side of your spine
- A dye is injected to highlight the application area
- The doctor injects the medicine
Steroid, clonidine, and epinephrine are commonly used medications for this procedure. From start to end, the process lasts an average of 30 minutes. Immediately following the procedure you may experience numbness in your legs and stomach, but that will subside after the anesthesia wears off. Avoid driving or doing anything strenuous for the following 24 hours.
How Effective is This Procedure?
This procedure is proven effective, but individual results may vary. Some people experience pain relief that lasts several weeks, while others are pain-free for over a year. For longer lasting pain relief, some patients must have multiple injections. Many people get relief after just two treatments. Others need 10 or more injections before the pain dissipates. Your doctor can let you know how many you may need based on your condition.
A celiac plexus block is safe but can cause side effects. Soreness and bruising at the injection site are some of the most commonly reported side effects. Serious side effects like a collapsed lung, bleeding, and nerve damage have been reported but are rare. Some people may also experience diarrhea or low blood pressure.
If you suffer from chronic abdominal pain, a celiac plexus block may be right for you. Individuals who fail to see results through other treatments are likely candidates for a celiac plexus block injection. A New Jersey pain expert at Garden State Pain Control can analyze your pain source and suggest the necessary treatment. Schedule an appointment today.