Upstate Carolina Radiology

Celiac Plexus Block

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Patients with certain types of cancers and chronic pancreatitis may suffer from intractable pain. Often these patients are dependent on large doses of pain killers (narcotics) with the inherent side effects. The Celiac Plexus Block technique allows the interventional radiologist to deaden the specific nerves carrying the pain sensation from the abdomen to your brain. One or two small needles are placed directly into the area of the celiac plexus nerves. A local anesthetic will be injected into the nerves followed by absolute alcohol. This will locally destroy the specific nerves transmitting pain. Over 70% of patients achieve excellent relief with this relatively safe and quick technique.

How is This Procedure Performed?

The patient will be brought to the procedure room and be comfortably placed on the procedure table. The injection area will be sterilized and drapes will be put in place to keep the area clean. A local anesthetic, or numbing agent, will be administered to lessen discomfort from the actual injection. A needle will be inserted into the appropriate point of interest and guided to the precise nerve using fluoroscopy “real-time” imaging. A dye will be injected to confirm the accurate location and then the medication will be injected. Once the injection is complete, the skin will be cleaned once more and a band-aid applied.

What Should I Expect After the Injection?

Patients may be monitored for a short time to ensure that the procedure was received well. The patient may have slight discomfort, but should have maximum benefit from the medicine within approximately seven days. There may be immediate relief, or numbness, from the local anesthetic that will wear off shortly. A driver should accompany the patient to the facility to take them home safely.

Rarely, temporary low blood pressure or diarrhea may result. Please consult your physician if you experience any side effect, such as painful headache; fever of over 101; loss of function or feeling in arms or legs; loss of bowel or bladder control; and severe pain not controlled by over-the-counter pain medications.