SPLANCHNIC NERVE BLOCK
A Splanchnic nerve block is an injection that helps relieve upper abdominal pain due to cancer and chronic pancreatitis. There are two splanchnic nerves located on both sides of the spine that carry the pain information from the abdominal organs to the brain. These two nerves terminate at the celiac plexus in the abdomen and the nerve block can help and stop the feeling of abdominal pain.
After a Splanchnic nerve block, the signals of pain from the abdomen will be blocked before they can reach the spinal cord, which significantly reduces the severity of pain. It is minimally invasive and can be used to avoid intensive surgery.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A SPLANCHNIC NERVE BLOCK PROCEDURE
Splanchnic nerve blocks is a minimally invasive method for managing pain, and does not require surgery. It is done only with the assistance of local anesthetic, and the whole procedure takes less than an hour.
The most common technique requires the patient to be lying face down while the doctor uses a fluoroscopic device to help them find the correct placement for the injection needle. For splanchnic nerve blocks, the needle is positioned into the 11th thoracic vertebrae.
Sometimes a contrast dye may be used prior to injecting the anesthetic that will ensure the needle is properly placed. Alcohol is added to the anesthetic solution because while the anesthetic effectively numbs the area, the alcohol permanently destroys the neural tissue.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER THE PROCEDURE
After the procedure the abdomen may feel numb but the feeling will wear off when the anesthetic wears off. It is recommended not to drive or do rigorous activities for 24 hours after the procedure.