Celiac Plexus Block
Medical Services in South Central Missouri & North Central Arkansas
A celiac plexus block is when a medical professional injects a local anesthetic
into or near the celiac plexus. The body part known as the celiac plexus
is a collection of nerves in the abdominal area and it has previously
been referred to as the solar plexus. These nerves are responsible for
producing painful simulations derived from abdominal organs like the pancreas.
Usually, these nerves manage basic nerve functions. Unfortunately, under
specific circumstances, these nerves can carry pain signals from the abdominal
area or gut back to the brain and central nervous system.
Several medical conditions that are often treated and managed by means
of celiac plexus block are:
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Abdominal pain
- Pancreatic cancer
- Various other abdominal cancers
For this Procedure
On the day of your procedure, please arrive at least 20 minutes prior to
the scheduled appointment. Our skilled nurses will begin an IV if you
want to be sedated and we will conduct a pre-operation nurse assessment.
You will then be directed to the procedure room and will lie down on a
hospital bed. Once we have you situated in the operating room, you will
be sedated and given nitrous oxide gas to induce comfort. We will place
a cold cleaning solution on your skin in order to lower your chance of
infection. Then, using x-ray guidance, our doctors will identify the site
for the procedure. Once we identify the procedure site, we will apply
a shot of anesthetic to numb the area. It may sting slightly, but the
pain will pass in a couple seconds. Using x-ray guidance, the spinal needle
will then be placed into position. Next, we will inject dye in order to
confirm the correct needle placement and to observe the medicine spreading
in the celiac plexus. Steroids and anesthetics will comprise the medication
that we inject through the needle. The medication will disperse in your
celiac plexus and cover the cluster of nerves. Then, we will repeat the
procedure on the opposite side to make sure the entire celiac plexus has
been medicated. Many patients report that they feel relief fairly quickly.
We will then take the needle out and take you to a separate room for recovery.
The entire procedure only takes about 10-15 minutes and afterwards, we
will observe you for 15 more minutes to ensure the effects are working
properly. You are then free to travel home and recover comfortably.
What You Should Expect Afterwards
Immediately after the procedure, you may notice a warm feeling around your
abdomen. Patients also report feeling substantially less pain, or that
their pain has completely disappeared overall. We advise patients to rest
and take it easy for the remainder of the day, but you are free to go
about conducting your business as usual if you feel up to it. The effects
of the medication may last from several days to several months. Some patients
need repeated injections in order to experience long term pain relief.
If the injection works, but not for very long, then you may be eligible
for neurolysis with phenol or alcohol. The procedure is repeated as stated
previously and it is extremely safe and often effective. It is frequently
a more effective long term solution if the initial celiac plexus block’s
effects fade over time.
The celiac plexus block is usually considered a safe and appropriate non-surgical
procedure for patients suffering from severe abdominal pain. The procedure
is extremely low risk and has been perfected over the past several decades.
While the risks are low, there are chances of a misplaced needle, bleeding,
infection, punctured surrounding organs, punctured blood vessels, allergic
reactions to the drugs, damage to the nerves, and/or paralysis. However,
the most common side-effects from this procedure are diarrhea and hypotension.
For more information regarding this procedure, please call Interventional
Pain Management, a department of BRMC, at (870) 508-5900.