Celiac Plexus Block
Most feelings of pain from your abdomen first pass through a bundle of nerves called a plexus. With a celiac plexus block, a doctor injects these nerves with a medicine that numbs the area to reduce pain. This type of block has been found to be helpful to reduce the pain caused by pancreatic cancer.
The block is done with a medicine called alcohol or phenol that will destroy the nerve plexus and block the nerves for a long time. This is called a nerve destruction (neurolytic) block.
The doctor will talk with you about complications that may be caused by this treatment. These may include bleeding and low blood pressure, and in rare cases, paralysis. You may also have some diarrhea after the treatment. Please be sure to talk to your doctor or nurse if you have any questions.
If you are taking any blood thinners, you will have to stop them before the block. The block will take about an hour to do. First, an IV will be placed in your arm. Although you may be given some medicines to help you relax, you will not need to be asleep while we do the block.
You will lie on your stomach on the X-ray table. Your back will be cleaned and then numbed with a local anesthetic. The doctor will use X-ray to help guide the needle through your back and into the nerve plexus. Dye will be injected to make sure the needle is in the right place. Then, the drug will be injected and the needle removed. You will be taken to the recovery room where your blood pressure and heart rate will be closely watched. A Band-aid® may be put over the injection site.
You can go back to your normal routine the day after your block. Your doctor will tell you when to restart any blood thinners that you stopped before the block and how to adjust your pain medicines.
- You will need to watch the injection site to make sure everything is healing well. Call the Interventional Pain team if you have
- Pus-like drainage.
- Fever (oral temperature greater than 100.4° F or 38.0° C for two reading taken 4 hours apart).
- Site is red or warm to the touch.
- Excess swelling, bruising, or bleeding.
- Pain you cannot control.
- New symptoms in your legs such as numbness, tingling, weakness.
- Nausea, vomiting, abdominal fullness or bloating.
- Increasing stomach or back pain.
- Fainting spell.
- Blood stained urine or stools.
Interventional Pain Clinic, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm (608) 265-1770 or (608) 890-7359.
After hours these numbers will be answered by the paging operator. Ask for the rehabilitation doctor on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 07/02/2010
Copyright © 07/02/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5872
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