Stellate ganglion block is used to treat complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), or reflex sympathetic dystrophy, of the upper extremities.
Stellate ganglion is a cluster of cells located in the neck that controls blood flow and other functions in the head and upper extremities.
The goal of therapy is to limit the extend of sympathetic nerve hyperactivity by breaking the cycle of pain and increased sympathetic outflow, which in turn causes more pain – a feedback mechanism gone haywire, thus allow more blood flow into the extremity.
The procedure is done outpatient and takes only a few minutes. There can be facial and other changes immediately detectable after the procedure in addition to increased blood flow to the arm. These can include red eye, droopy eye lid, hoarse voice, stuffy nose, and constriction of the pupil; or medically speaking, Horner’s Syndrome – ptosis, miosis and mydriasis. These symptoms are temporary and will resolve within a few hours after the block. It is not an indication of a stroke.