The celiac plexus is a web of nerves that lies in the abdomen near the aorta. It is a relay station for the nerves that innervate the abdominal contents from the lower esophagus to part of the colon. A celiac plexus block is an abdominal pain relief procedure in which a long-acting local anesthetic is placed at the celiac plexus to block the transmission of pain from the abdomen. This type of abdominal pain may be caused by irritation, compression or entrapment of the nerve bundles because of tumor invasion, fibrosis, or chronic inflammation resulting from chronic pancreatitis or Crohn’s disease, among others. In particular, pain attributed to pancreatic cancer responds very well to a celiac plexus blockade.
How is Celiac Plexus Block Performed?
A celiac plexus block procedure involves the use of fluoroscopy, or live x-ray imaging, to accurately position the needle and inject a long-acting analgesic block for pain relief. The celiac plexus block procedure takes less than 30 minutes.
What should be expected?
The celiac plexus block procedure is most frequently used in patients when other pain medications or other less invasive therapies are not effective. Celiac plexus blocks typically provide temporary relief with less risk. Longer pain relief can be obtained with a neurolytic agent. Another option for abdominal pain control is spinal cord stimulation.
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