The celiac plexus is a network of nerves that that sends pain signals from the stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, spleen, and kidneys to the brain. It is located in the upper abdomen behind the stomach. Performing a celiac plexus block can help to reduce abdominal pain. It is commonly used to treat pancreatic cancer, chronic pancreatitis, liver tumors, and other abdominal pain.
For this procedure, you will lie on your stomach. The doctor will administer the medication through the back. The celiac plexus block is comprised of a local anesthetic that alleviates nerve pain rapidly. Contrast dye is used to ensure that the medication is correctly administered to the celiac plexus.
Blood thinning medications must be held prior to the injection as directed by your doctor. You must bring a driver with you to the appointment.
The side effects are similar to that of all procedures and include: bleeding, infection, and nerve damage. The chance of this happening is very rare as the doctor uses both a c-arm fluoroscope machine to guide him and contrast dye to ensure he is in the correct location.
Reduce procedural discomfort by applying ice for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours to reduce injection site swelling and irritation. NSAIDs and/or Tylenol are also recommended.