FAQ’s on Celiac Plexus Blocks
What is a Celiac Plexus Block?
The celiac plexus of the body is a complex network of nerves which are located both in and around the abdomen. This plexus is where the main arteries branch from the abdominal aorta, with these nerves responsible for the basic nerve functioning of the surrounding areas.
A celiac plexus block is an injection into these nerves that uses an anesthetic into the celiac plexus cavity to ease the pain of the organs around the abdominal area, which may include the pancreas.
A celiac plexus block is a treatment procedure to chronic infections like chronic pancreatitis, but can be used for any condition resulting in abdominal pain.
What will a Celiac Plexus Block treat?
Due to the large area of the abdomen that is connected to the celiac plexus, this block is able to treat nearly any abdominal condition. Some of the prominent conditions this block can provide relief for include Inflammatory Bowel Disorder, pancreatitis, specific abdominal cancers, Crohn’s Disease, and many others.
How is a Celiac Plexus Block performed?
The celiac plexus block process is a very critical treatment procedure and, therefore, needs to be monitored closely and accurately to avoid harming other body organs. A celiac plexus block is done in fully sterile environments to reduce the risk of infections. The patients lie on their stomach and the region around the injection area is cleaned with an antiseptic before the area to be injected is numbed.
The direction of the needle is monitored using a process called fluoroscopy, which is real time x-ray machine that creates images of the needle’s location within the patient. This is used to guide the needle into the nerve cluster and to position the needle past the spine into the required region.
Before the full amount of anesthesia is injected into the patient, a test dose is used to determine if the medication will be administered to the required area. This is called a diagnostic injection, and is performed to ensure that the full procedure will both work as intended for the patient, and will actually provide adequate relief for their condition.
Once it has been proved to be effective, the actual dose is injected into the patient. Once the anesthesia has been applied to the determined area, which will be viewed from the X-ray system, the needle will be removed. The procedure of celiac plexus block lasts about thirty minutes.
What should a patient expect following their injection?
After the celiac plexus block is administered, the patient may experience general weakness especially to the lower part of the abdomen. The patient will be back to their normal state within a few hours of the treatment, and are typically monitored during this time to ensure there are no adverse reactions to the injection.
It is highly advisable that the patient takes a rest and resumes normal duties a day after the treatment. Those patients who are able to find relief with this block will be able to repeat the procedure every month or so as required to maintain relief.
What are the side effects of a celiac plexus block?
The most common side effect of celiac plexus block is soreness in the injected region, and your Denver pain clinic doctor should be notified of any other side effect immediately. There is also the small risk of bleeding, infection, or pain at the site of the injection.
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