The celiac plexus is located in the abdomen around the aorta artery. Damaged nerves in this area can send pain signals to the brain through the spinal cord. This procedure blocks the nerves from sending these signals so patients can hopefully get relief from their stomach pain. Our physicians typically recommend celiac plexus blocks for people who have chronic stomach pain due to injury or an illness such as pancreatitis, Crohn's disease, or even cancer. We also recommend this procedure to patients who have uncomfortable side effects when taking medication for their abdominal condition.
What to Expect
Even though the procedure helps stomach pain, it is not actually done through the stomach. The quick procedure is done with the patient lying on his or her stomach in order to perform an injection to block the nerves from sending pain signals. After the patient is situated, a physician will administer an anesthetic injection to numb the area. Next, a dye is injected into the celiac plexus. The physician uses a fluoroscopic X-ray device to look at the dye and confirm that it is in the correct place. An anesthetic mixed with a pain-relieving steroid injection is then injected. Overall, patients can expect the procedure to last for no more than 40 minutes, although it is often much quicker than that.
After the Procedure
Patients can return home the same day as a celiac plexus block. Patients may feel slightly sore as the anesthesia starts to wear off, but it should not last more than a few days. Physicians cannot determine exactly how long the effects of a celiac plexus block can last as it varies from patient to patient. Some may experience relief for a few weeks while others may have an entire year of reduced abdominal pain. If the nerve block wears off over time, patients can come back to TriState Pain Institute to have the procedure repeated.