What is Celiac Plexus Block? Is it Treatable?

Celiac plexus block procedures have been used for almost a century to manage upper abdominal pain. It’s used as a diagnostic tool as well as a pain management tool. When upper abdominal pain doesn’t respond to other therapeutic methods, a celiac plexus block is an effective method to control pain.

Located in Greenwood Village and Parker, Colorado, the experts at MDPain specialize in pain management. Our skilled providers offer comprehensive care that addresses the root cause of abdominal pain while controlling it using innovative pain relief techniques and procedures.

What is the celiac plexus?

Your celiac plexus, also called the solar plexus, is a bundle of nerves found in your upper abdomen. It’s near your aorta, located behind your pancreas. This bundle of nerves is connected to your brain, spinal cord, stomach, liver, gallbladder, intestines, and pancreas. 

When you have pain in your upper abdomen where your celiac plexus is located, it could be any number of issues. Some of those include:

The pain may be sharp, dull, or achy. Celiac plexus pain is also usually accompanied by other symptoms such as heartburn, bloating, or cramping.

What is a celiac plexus block?

A celiac plexus block is an injection that provides relief from abdominal pain. For chronic abdominal pain, this treatment delivers pain medication via an injection into your back. This is because the discomfort in your celiac plexus originates from your spinal cord. The celiac plexus block eliminates the pain right where it begins.

One thin needle is inserted into your back, right next to your spine. Then the MDPain experts inject an anesthetic to ensure you are comfortable and relaxed. They do this by using an x-ray to guide their movements to the right place. Next, a second thin needle is inserted on the other side of your spine where dye is injected to ensure the medication goes where it’s needed. 

Finally, pain medication is introduced. Depending on the underlying cause of your abdominal pain, the injection may be a pain relief medication such as a steroid, epinephrine, or clonidine. Alternatively, the injection may purposely destroy the celiac plexus nerves using alcohol or phenol.

This is a common procedure that’s typically finished in under an hour. It’s a minimally-invasive treatment, so you can go home or return to work immediately after.

Are there any risks?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the risks are extremely low. It’s rare to experience any kind of complication resulting from a celiac plexus block. Patients might feel a little soreness or notice some bruising at the site of the injection, but other problems are highly unusual.

For chronic upper abdominal pain and more information on celiac plexus blocks, call MDPain to make a telemedicine appointment. Click here for more information on our transition to telemedicine only.

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