Stellate Ganglion Block

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Damage to the sympathetic nerves in front of the last vertebra of your neck could lead to lingering pain in the head or chest. Advanced Headache Center’s multidisciplinary headache specialists offer stellate ganglion block injections to provide pain relief for a variety of nerve-related conditions, including headaches and recurrent facial pain. A stellate ganglion nerve block at one of our offices in NYC or NJ is a safe, minimally invasive procedure that helped hundreds of patients with headaches and refractory migraine achieve dramatic pain relief.

What are Stellate Ganglion Blocks?

Stellate ganglion block is a treatment used to relieve headaches. A stellate ganglion nerve block is an injection that numbs branches of nerves in your neck. This helps doctors find and treat several problems linked to the nerves. The stellate ganglion nerves travel along both sides of your spine. They are associated with a wide range of bodily functions that you don’t consciously control.

Stellate Ganglion Block

What is The Stellate Ganglion?

The stellate ganglion, also known as the cervicothoracic ganglion or the sympathetic ganglion, is a cluster of nerve cells located in the front of your neck near the base of the cervical spine. There is one on each side of your neck.

The stellate ganglion is part of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the body’s automatic responses to stress and other stimuli in the head, neck, upper limbs, and thorax, including the heart, lungs, and blood vessels.

What Happens During a Stellate Ganglion Block?

The steps involved in a stellate ganglion block injection include:

  • Your doctor will monitor your vital signs and might set up an IV (a needle in your vein) to administer sleep-inducing medication.
  • As you lie down on your back, the doctor will clean the injection site and administer a local anesthetic to numb the area.
  • Next, the nerve pain in the ganglion is “blocked” by injecting a small amount of anesthetic solution using imaging guidance such as fluoroscopy and ultrasound.

Pain alleviation from ganglion blocks typically occurs gradually. The procedure usually takes no more than thirty minutes, and you will be able to resume regular activities the day after. Sometimes, your treatment may require a series of injections.

Is a Stellate Ganglion Block Dangerous?

Stellate ganglion block is considered safe and well-tolerated for most patients. However, it still carries some risks, such as:

  • Bleeding or bruising at the injection site
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage or injury
  • Allergic reaction to the medication

Additionally, if the injection has worked correctly, it may lead to Horner’s syndrome, a rare condition characterized by drooping eyelids, constricted pupils, and lack of sweating on one side of the face. It’s worth noting that these symptoms are temporary and should pass in several hours.

The team at Advanced Headache Center is acknowledged for their comprehensive, multidisciplinary headache care, specializing in the administration of a wide range of nerve block therapies, such as stellate ganglion block injections. Visit one of our offices in NYC or NJ to learn more about the therapeutic nerve blocks we offer and start a path to a pain-free life.

Updated on May 15, 2023 by Dr. Amr Hosny (Headache Specialist) of Advanced Headache Center

Amr Hosny, MD, MBA, AQH

Dr. Hosny is an Ivy League Trained, UCNS-accredited, board-certified headache specialist who offers the latest preventive and abortive treatments to provide safe and effective head pain relief. As an active member of prominent organizations and professional societies that advance headache science, education, and management, such as the National Headache Foundation, Dr. Hosney specializes in diagnosing and treating a wide range of head pain disorders, including tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches, to name a few.

Dr. Hosny's reputation for enhancing headache care quality through the use of the most effective and technologically advanced treatment options for persistent primary and secondary chronic headaches has been acknowledged by Castle Connolly and Healthgrades, where he has received over 200 positive reviews. Dr. Hosny is also recognized as a distinguished New York City physician and headache specialist by New York Magazine.

More about Dr. Hosny
Advanced Headache Center 41 5th Avenue,
New York, NY 10003
(646) 763-2222