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Lumbar Sympathetic Nerve Block


Why Do I Need a Lumbar Sympathetic Nerve Block?

The stellate ganglion (upper body) as well as the sympathetic chain (lower body) supply the entire body's sympathetic nervous system. Sometimes after injuries the sympathetic nerves can become excited or irritated. This can change the blood supply to your hands, feet, or other areas may be affected and can produce pain or sensory changes. Headaches, neck pain, and facial pain can also be seen in patients who have sympathetic nerve dysfunction.

How Is a Lumbar Sympathetic Nerve Block Performed?

A sympathetic nerve block involves injecting a local numbing anesthetic (lidocaine, bupivacaine) into the space where the sympathetic nerve ganglion are located. A local skin anesthetic is given first to numb the area and then another needle is inserted near the ganglion.

What Are the potential Risks With a Lumbar Sympathetic Nerve Block?

Complications of the ganglion block include infection, bleeding, pneumothorax (collapsed lung), nerve damage, and pharmacological complications related to the drugs utilized. Since the goal of the procedure is to block sympathetic nerves, some expected but transient changes may result. These changes can include drooping of the eyelid and stuffy nose and usually resolve within hours.

What Are the Potential Benefits of This Procedure?

Sympathetic nerve blocks can be effective in relieving chronic pain conditions related to an overactive sympathetic nervous system. One such condition, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome has been shown to have excel lent analgesia and alleviation of clinical pain symptoms after sympathetic blocks. Pain that originates from the sympathetic nervous system is not easily treated by oral pain medications so sympathetic blocks are an extremely effective and beneficial treatment option.

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