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Bossier City

Procedures Performed

Sympathetic Blocks

Cervical sympathetic blocks (Stellate Ganglion block) and Lumbar sympathetic blocks relieve pain originating the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is a separate system that is responsible for pain, skin color, temperature, light touch, and hair growth. When pain originating from the sympathetic nervous system is suspected, these fibers can be blocked in the neck or the low back. A combination of steroid and local anesthetic is commonly used. Soon after the injection, the patient may feel warmth or experience a temperature change in the affected arm or leg. This is a sign that the sympathetic fibers have been blocked. Even though this reaction is temporary, pain relief can persist and the abnormality of the sympathetic nervous system can be reversed. To achieve more permanent relief, repeated injections are typically needed. Injections may be performed each week to ensure a successful outcome.

Side effects of Sympathetic Blocks are rare and your physician will discuss them with you. You will be asked to sign a written consent prior to the procedure. Please make sure you fully understand the risks and benefits of any procedure prior to signing the consent form.

Sympathetic blocks, as with most other procedures, are performed in our in-office fluoroscopy suite. X-ray is used for all injections. Intravenous sedation is typically not offered but a mild oral sedative may be offered, depending on your medical condition. A driver is required for all spinal injections. You may resume normal activities the day after the procedure, unless otherwise directed by your physician. It may take a week or more for you to feel relief. Typically a follow-up evaluation is scheduled two weeks from the date of the procedure, so that you can discuss your response to the injection with your physician.

Sympathetic blocks can produce dramatic results in a patient suffering from an abnormality of the sympathetic nervous system. Please contact our office if you have additional questions regarding this procedure.

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Side effects of Sympathetic Blocks

Side effects are rare but fluid retention, insomnia, elevated blood sugar, bleeding, and infection have occurred. These side effects usually occur on patients taking strong anti-coagulants or blood thinners, or those with a high fever or an active infection. Diabetic patients will need to monitor their blood sugar before and after the procedure as steroid can cause blood sugar to rise. As long as a diabetic patient’s blood sugar is normal before the procedure and monitored after the procedure, the risk of a dangerously high blood sugar is low. Other less common risks include increased pain, kidney failure, bowel or bladder dysfunction, paralysis, and death. Your physician should be notified if you are taking medications such as Coumadin, Plavix, Ticlid, Lovenox, Aggrenox, Insulin, or Metformin. Your physician should also be made aware of any allergies you have, especially if you are allergic to iodine or contrast. Notify your physician immediately if you have concerns about your condition after the procedure.