What is Stellate ganglion block?

This procedure called a stellate ganglion block is where an injection containing local anaesthetic with or without a steroid is injected on to the Stellate ganglion. The Stellate ganglion is a collection of nerves which can be found either side of the Adams apple in the neck. This part of the nervous system in certain circumstances can cause pain and the other symptoms you are experiencing.
The Consultant feels that by injecting the local anaesthetic and possibly steroid on to Stellate ganglion it may give you some relief from the symptoms you are experiencing.

Where is it done?

The procedure is carried out in the hospital, a letter with instructions and directions will be sent to you.

How is it done?

  • You will be asked to wear a hospital gown.
  • Your blood pressure will be taken and recorded. A small needle is put into the back of your hand as a safety precaution in case you need medication.
  • You will be asked to lie flat on your back on the examination table.
  • X ray pictures may be taken throughout the procedure to help the Consultant direct the needle on to the stellate ganglion.
  • The area to be injected is cleaned with antiseptic.
  • The Consultant will numb the area with local anaesthetic before putting in the injection containing the local anaesthetic and possibly a steroid on to the stellate ganglion.
  • It is important that you remain very still during the procedure.
  • Sedation is not usually required for this procedure. If you are very anxious you may discuss this with the Consultant prior to the procedure.

How long will I be in hospital?

The procedure is done as a day-case. The procedure itself takes 15-20minutes, you will be asked to stay 1-2 hours before you are allowed to go home this is to make sure there are no problems. Once you are able to sit up and can swallow without problems you are offered a drink and biscuit.

Can I take my usual tablets?

Take your usual medications in the morning with a sip of water and bring your medication with you. (Diabetics and patients taking warfarin will be given information on an individual basis).

Can I eat and drink?

Please do not have any food 6 hours prior to your appointment time, you may have clear fluids up to 2 hours before your appointment.

  • For example if your appointment is 10.30, do not have any food after 04.30am drink clear fluids only (water, black tea or coffee), up till 08.30. Do not have anything to eat or drink after 08.30.
  • Diabetics will receive individual instructions.

Can I drive home?

For safety reasons you are asked not to drive on the day of your procedure and that you have someone to pick you up. You may also need someone with you for the rest of the day if you are feeling unwell.

What can go wrong?

  • Your blood pressure may fall during or immediately after the procedure; this is monitored and can be appropriately treated at the time by the Consultant.
  • Very rarely the needle may cause a leak of air from the top of the lung; this can be dealt with appropriately by the Consultant at the time.
  • Very rarely some of the drug used may be injected into the small blood vessel near the ganglion. This may cause a brief loss of consciousness, this can be dealt with appropriately by the Consultant at the time.