What is a Stellate Ganglion Injection?
Stellate Ganglion Injection is an injection of local anesthetic in the sympathetic nerve tissue. The nerves are located on the either side of the voice box, in the neck.
How long does the injection take?
The actual injection takes only a few minutes.
Will the injection hurt?
The procedure involves inserting a needle through skin and deeper tissues (like a "tetanus shot"). So, there is some discomfort involved. However, we may numb the skin and deeper tissues with a local anesthetic using a very thin needle before inserting the actual block needle. Most of the patients also receive intravenous sedation and analgesia, which makes the procedure easy to tolerate.
What should I expect after the injection?
Immediately after the injection, you may feel your upper extremity getting warm. In addition, you may notice that your pain may be gone or quite less. You may also notice "a lump in the throat" as well as hoarse voice, droopy and red eye, and some nasal congestion on the side of the injection. You may also develop a headache.
How many injections do I need to have?
If you respond to the first injection, you will be recommended for repeat injections. Usually, a series of such injections is needed to treat the problem. Some may need only 2 to 4 and some may need more that 10. The response to such injections varies from patient to patient.
What are the risks and side effects?
This procedure is safe. However, with any procedure there are risks, side effects, and possibility of complications. The most common side effect is pain – which is temporary. The other risk involves bleeding, infection, spinal block, epidural block, and injection into blood vessels and surrounding organs. Fortunately, the serious side effects and complications are uncommon.
Who should not have this injection?
If you are allergic to any of the medications to be injected, if you are on a blood thinning medication (e.g. Coumadin), or if you have an active infection going on near the injection site, you should not have the injection.