The celiac plexus is a group of nerves that supply organs in the abdomen. A celiac plexus neurolysis may be performed if a patient is experiencing severe chronic abdominal pain from cancer or persistent pain associated with chronic pancreatitis that is not relieved by medications or other conservative measures. It is expected that the neurolysis will provide long-term relief (3 months or so) of pain.
How is the procedure performed?
Patients are positioned to lie on their stomach for the procedure. Under real-time x-ray guidance, needles will be inserted through the skin to the target area. Then, a local anesthetic and ethanol will be injected to neurolyse the celiac plexus, resulting in pain relief.
What should be expected?
Patients are conscious for this procedure to provide feedback on levels of discomfort or pain they are experiencing. Celiac plexus neurolysis is a simple abdominal pain relief procedure. Patients are often discharged shortly after it is complete. Potential complications include: bleeding, diarrhea, infection, pain during the procedure, failure to relieve the pain, collapsed lung, bloody urine, low blood pressure and in rare instances, paralysis.
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