Celiac Plexus Block
What Is a Celiac Plexus Block?
A Celiac Plexus Block procedure is often used to help diagnose and decrease abdominal pain caused by conditions such as cancer or pancreatitis. The procedure itself is comprised of an injection. No incision is made in the skin. There is slight pain that is standard with deep needle insertion. The procedure typically takes under an hour, sometimes much less.
What Happens During the Celiac Plexus Block Procedure
In a celiac plexus block, the patient will be asked to lie down on their stomach. Usually, the patient is given a mild sedative to help them relax. During the celiac plexus block procedure, the patient is monitored for heart rhythm, oxygen flow and blood pressure.
First, the back of the patient is sterilized. Next, a numbing solution is applied to the back, at the insertion point of the needle or needles. The physician may use an x-ray device or CT scan to help guide the needles into proper position. The needles will go past the spine, through the body to the celiac plexus nerves. To confirm that the needles are in place, the physician may inject a harmless dye into the area. This helps to ensure that the actual medication will reach its desired location.
Once the physician is satisfied that the needles are in position, he will begin administering the anesthetic medication. The medication will work to effectively block pain signals from reaching the brain. If the anesthetic medication works as expected, the physician may administer a permanent pain block solution. The needles are then carefully extracted. The insertion point is sterilized once more, and covered with a sterile Band-Aid.
Does the Procedure Hurt?
The sensation from celiac plexus block procedure is similar to an epidural that is sometimes administered during childbirth. There is anesthesia applied both topically and internally, so the patient may feel nothing at all. There may, however, be slight discomfort that would be comparable to any long needle injection. In addition, you may feel that your abdomen feels warm, which is normal.
How Long Until I Notice the Results?
If the procedure is effective, you could notice results even before the needles have been removed.
How Long Does the Celiac Plexus Block Procedure Take?
The entire procedure from start to finish usually takes less than an hour, many times much less. You could have the procedure done during your lunch hour!
Will I Be Able to Return to Work Right Away?
How long it takes you to recover from the mild sedation will depend on your physical size, how much sedation you were administered, and how your body uniquely reacts to the sedative. Most people are able to return to work in one or two days.
What is in the Injection Solution?
The physician may inject a harmless dye that is ultimately absorbed by your body. The anesthesia medication may contain epinephrine, clonidine or a steroid. Your physician will be able to tell you before the procedure exactly what he will be using, as well as any contraindications.
How Long Will I be Free of Pain?
The pain block medication can last from days to weeks. Repeated injections will be necessary for long-term chronic pain relief. However, as you have more injections, you may notice that the duration of the relief will be longer and longer. Each case is unique to the individual.
Are There Any Risks Involved With the Celiac Plexus Block Procedure?
There is inherent risk in any medical procedure. Celiac Plexus Block is considered to be generally safe. When side effects do occur, they may come in the form of:
- Soreness at the injection site
- Numbing of the abdomen or upper leg
- Complications like these are extremely rare, however.
Can Anyone Have a Celiac Plexus Procedure?
Certain people should avoid this procedure. Those who have certain allergies to medications, are taking certain medications, or who have a compromised immune system, may be counseled to consider an alternative chronic pain management system.