A celiac plexus block is a type of injection used to relieve chronic pancreatitis and abdominal pain. The main artery of the abdomen, called the aorta, is comprised of a bunch of nerves called the celiac plexus. The medication in the nerve block will interrupt pain signals to help relieve pain in the abdomen.
For the procedure, the patient will be given an IV to provide relaxation. An American Spine physician will use a local anesthetic to numb the operating area of the skin. Using x-ray guidance, a needle is inserted into the back, which delivers an anesthetic to the spine. A second needle is inserted on the opposite side of the first needle and a dye is injected to confirm the medication has reached the correct spot. Pain medication (ie epinephrine, clonidine, or steroid) is then delivered.
The injection should take no longer than 30 minutes, and patients are usually permitted to return home the same day.
Though the risks of complications from a celiac plexus block are very low, some side effects include bruising, soreness, infection, nerve damage, and bleeding. Patients may have diarrhea and low blood pressure following the injection.