Stellate Ganglion Block

A stellate ganglion block is an injection of local anesthetic and steroid around the stellate nerves in the neck area to relieve pain and increase circulation to one side of the head, neck, upper arm and/or upper chest. It is used to alleviate pain in individuals with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), Raynaud’s Disease, complications of arterial cannulation, phantom limb pain, Herpes Zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia. Complications of the procedure can include localized pain or bruising, injection into a blood vessel, seizure or convulsions, and spinal or epidural block.

You will need a ride home. No driving for 3 hours after the procedure due to the side effects of medications given.

When you arrive, a nurse will get a description of your pain and how you are managing daily activities. Your blood pressure, pulse, temperature and weight will be taken. Medications, allergies and a brief health history will be reviewed. It is important to let the nurse know if you have allergies to X-ray dye, Betadine or latex, if you are taking blood thinners, such as Coumadin, Plavix, Pradaxa or Lovenox, if you have diabetes or if you might be pregnant.

After discussing treatment with your physician and signing a consent form, you will go the X-ray room where you will be helped onto the X-ray table. We will try to make you as comfortable as possible. Your skin will be cleansed with antiseptic and a needle will be placed using X-ray guidance. A steroid and anesthetic mixture will be injected around the stellate ganglion nerves. You will be reminded to breathe normally and to keep your body very still. The entire procedure will take less than a couple minutes.

You will stay for about 45 minutes after the procedure as we monitor your response to the medications. You may experience a drooping eyelid or eye redness and tearing, nasal stuffiness, hoarseness or decreased ability to swallow. Other side effects may include soreness or swelling at the injection site and a feeling of warmth or tingling in your arm and hand. These symptoms will go away within a few minutes to several hours as the anesthetic wears off.

When you go home

  • Diet: You should not eat or drink for two hours after the procedure. Start slowly with water and progress to solids, making sure that you are able to swallow normally.
  • Activity: You may not drive for three hours.
  • Pain: If you are uncomfortable, rest, take your normal pain medications and use ice when you feel pain or discomfort. Report any increase in pain, fever or chills to your doctor.
  • Follow-up: Make an appointment for follow-up or to repeat the procedure in 2-4 weeks.

If you experience any trouble breathing, pain with breathing or severe swelling of the neck, go to nearest emergency room for evaluation of breathing or bleeding complications.


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