A celiac plexus block is a nerve block to help with pain management in the abdomen. This minimally-invasive pain management procedure can be performed as a treatment or a diagnostic test to block pain signals from the abdomen to the brain.
The celiac plexus (also called the solar plexus) is a bundle of nerves that surrounds the aorta, the main artery into your abdomen, under the diaphragm. Cancerous tumors often cause pain by pressing on and injuring these nerves.
This bundle of nerves makes it possible to feel sensation in your:
What Is a Celiac Plexus Block?
A celiac plexus block is a minimally-invasive pain management procedure to help relieve abdominal (gastrointestinal) pain, commonly due to cancer or chronic pancreatitis. The treatment involves the injection of pain medicine directly into the nerves.
The injection of numbing medicine into the celiac plexus interrupts the nerve fibers and decreases the feeling of pain. The injection of any nerve-numbing substance is called a nerve block and is a much-preferred alternative to the use of strong pain medicines, such as opioids, to control pain.
Conditions Treated with a Celiac Plexus Block
A celiac plexus block is commonly performed for abdominal pain. It is especially effective in controlling pancreatic cancer pain. Some of the conditions treated with celiac nerve blocks include:
Recurrent abdominal pain.
Inflammatory bowel disease.
Pancreatitis (acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis).
In the procedure, the patient receives medication to help with relaxation. Then the physician injects pain medication, such as epinephrine or clonidine to deaden the nerves. In some cases, alcohol or phenol may also be injected to destroy the nerves.
The procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes, followed by a short recovery period. The patient is allowed to go home the same day.
How Effective is a Celiac Plexus Block?
The length of time a patient experiences pain relief is different for each person. Most patients feel some, although not total, relief from pain after the procedure. Since the nerve block typically lasts three to six months, patients may need to repeat the procedure. After the treatment is complete, most patients can return to their normal activities.
Who Can Benefit from a Celiac Plexus Block?
A celiac plexus block may be right for patients suffering from chronic abdominal pain, especially when it is linked to abdominal cancers that do not respond to other pain medication.
Furthermore, there is a better chance of a celiac plexus block relieving a patient’s pain when the procedure is performed earlier in the illness.
Novus Spine & Pain Center
Novus Spine & Pain Center is in Lakeland, Florida, and treats patients with chronic pain with numerous therapies, including celiac plexus blocks. By using a comprehensive approach and cutting edge therapies, we work together with patients to restore function and regain an active lifestyle, while minimizing the need for opiates.