decreased need for pain medication compared with standard treatment when it comes to pancreatic cancer. Approximately 75% of patients receive excellent pain relief for two to four months (Rykowski et al, Anesthesiology 2000). Considering that the procedure has a fairly low risk profile and is minimally invasive, it fits in nicely with a nonoperative approach for patients dealing with a significant suffering condition.
What are the risks of a celiac plexus nerve block?
When it comes to individuals suffering from severe abdominal pain, these blocks may work wonderfully. The risk profile for the procedure is low, but it cannot be ignored. There is a risk of infection, bleeding, collapsed lung, arterial puncture, nerve damage or drug allergy. There can also be a reaction from the injected medication or from IV sedation or very rarely paralysis. Most commonly the patient may have transient hypotension which is a decrease in blood pressure, or transient diarrhea.
Overall what are the outcomes from these plexus blocks?
For patients suffering from chronic abdominal pain, these blocks may provide substantially decreased need for opiate medications. When an individual has cancer of the liver, gallbladder, G.I. tract, pancreas or other abdominal organ, pain medications often do not work exceptionally well. The celiac plexus block on the other hand, is often extremely effective in getting weeks to months of pain relief in approximately 75% of patients (Rykowski et al, Anesthesiology 2000). If the celiac plexus block works for a few weeks to a few months and then the pain relief wears off, it may be repeated again as an outpatient procedure.
Studies have also shown that celiac plexus blocks can substantially decrease the amount of pain medication necessary to provide adequate abdominal pain relief. Since opiate medications often do not provide satisfactory pain relief for abdominal pain, a celiac plexus block is an extremely valuable tool for pain control (Okuyama et al, J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Surg 2002).
For those individuals suffering with chronic abdominal pain who live in Arizona, Arizona Pain Specialists offers Double Board Certified, Fellowship Trained pain management doctors who are experts in this procedure. It is a specialized procedure so often times patients come from around the state to be treated by Arizona Pain.
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