Celiac Plexus Block
Abdominal pain is a common issue. While some people might suffer from occasional aches and pains that could indicate indigestion, other forms of abdominal pain can be excruciating and intractable, causing people to look for more aggressive treatment options. One treatment option is called a celiac plexus block.
What is the Celiac Plexus?
The celiac plexus is a bundle of nerves located near the bottom of the abdominal aorta. The aorta is the largest artery in the body and carries blood from the heart to nearly every other organ and tissue. This nerve bundle sits behind the stomach and in front of the diaphragm around the first lumbar vertebra.
This group of nerves carries sensory signals throughout the abdominal cavity. The celiac plexus is responsible for the chronic abdominal pain that people often feel with certain types of cancers and pancreatitis. Using a celiac plexus block, people will receive relief from excruciating abdominal pain.
How Is a Celiac Plexus Block Completed?
A celiac plexus block is performed by a trained professional who has undergone extensive education to learn how to perform this injection safely and efficiently. When someone comes in for this procedure, an IV medication is provided to help people relax. This will help individuals remain still during the procedure.
As the medication is working, the patient will lay down on his or her stomach on a flat table. Often, this is an imaging table, such as an x-ray table.
After this, the doctor is going to provide a local anesthetic to a small area on the patient’s back. This will minimize the sting of the needle as it enters the area around the celiac plexus.
Once the patient is relaxed, the doctor will carry out a few steps to inject the block. These include:
The doctor will insert a needle into the small of the patient’s back, near the spine.
After this, the doctor will inject an anesthetic to numb the area.
Then, the doctor is going to insert a second needle in a similar location but on the opposite side of the spine.
Once in the spine, the doctor will inject dye which will show up on an x-ray in real-time, confirming the doctor is in the right location
Finally, the doctor will inject pain medication to numb the celiac plexus, alleviating the patient’s pain.
Usually, this pain medication will take the form of a steroid medication; however, some of the alternatives include epinephrine or clonidine. The medication chosen is going to depend on the patient’s exact needs. This procedure usually takes around thirty minutes to complete. Usually, the patient is able to go home the same day as the procedure.
How Effective Is a Celiac Plexus Block?
This block is designed to alleviate pain for an extended period of time; however, it is not typically permanent. The exact length of time is going to be dependent on the patient’s past medical history as well as the cause of his or her pain. In some cases, pain relief is going to last for weeks. In other cases, the pain relief could last years. A celiac plexus block is going to last much longer than any other prescription medication and should provide someone with increased functional abilities. Some people may even be able to return to activities they haven’t completed in years.
Importantly, some people might require multiple injections to continue feeling pain relief. Some people may need a few injections while others might require more. This procedure can be tailored to meet the needs of each individual patient.
What Are the Risks of a Celiac Plexus Block?
As with any medical procedure, there are a few risks and side effects. The risks of complications are very low; however, side effects can happen from time to time. Some of the risks that patients need to know include:
1. Allergic Reaction
It is possible for someone to suffer an allergic reaction to the anesthetic agents. If this happens, medical professionals will take action immediately to halt the procedure and reverse the reaction.
It is possible for someone to develop bleeding or bruising at the site of the injection; however, this is rare.
Whenever a needle enters the skin, there is a risk of an infection developing. Patients should watch for the development of a fever, which would signal an infection.
Contact Us Today!
These are several treatment options that we provide to patients who come to see us. At MidSouth Pain, we place the needs of our patients first. We know that your back pain is impacting your quality of life, which is why we will do everything we can to help you. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you!