Did you know that Advanced Pain Medical Group offers celiac plexus block treatments at our eight Southern and Central California locations? Some conditions can cause intense abdominal aches and can become unbearable. Fortunately, a celiac plexus block can sometimes offer significant relief. So let’s talk about what this treatment entails, how it works, who can get it, and its potential side effects.

Help For Pancreatic Cancer Pain

A celiac plexus block procedure is a kind of pain management for abdominal pain caused by pancreatic cancer. A celiac plexus block is delivered by injection. It involves injecting alcohol or medicine into the celiac plexus nerves, which send and receive impulses to your abdomen. The treatment prevents celiac plexus nerves from sending these pain messages to the brain.

How Celiac Plexus Blocks Work

Some blocks provide temporary relief. Others offer a permanent solution for the pain caused by cancer. The short-term injection uses steroids or an anesthetic and is often used to treat pancreatitis.

But for pancreatic cancer pain, your provider may recommend a neurolytic celiac plexus block. This latter technique is also called neurolysis. It involves injecting phenol or ethanol into the celiac plexus. This destroys the nerves, so they can’t signal pain to your central nervous system.

Are There Side Effects?

Here are some possible side effects and complications of celiac plexus blocks.

  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Hypotension (Low Blood Pressure)
  • Infection
  • Bruising
  • Swelling Or Soreness
  • More Serious Complications
  • Allergic Reactions
  • Nerve Damage
  • Gastroparesis
  • Kidney Damage
  • Spinal Cord Injury/Paralysis
  • Seizures

Who Is Eligible For Celiac Plexus Block?

Oncologists often recommend the neurolytic form of this procedure for patients with pancreatic cancer pain who are no longer responding to standard medications. For those with pancreatitis, the temporary block can also offer pain relief while you recover.

Preparing For Your Treatment

You can receive a celiac plexus block as an outpatient or while undergoing surgery or endoscopic ultrasound. To prepare, you’ll likely be instructed to do the following a certain number of days or hours before the treatment.

  • Stop Certain Medications
  • Don’t Eat Or Drink
  • Don’t Smoke Or Consume Alcohol

What To Expect During Your Celiac Plexus Block

You’ll be asked to lie prone on your stomach, although some patients receive the treatment while lying supine if the pain is too great. Your provider will use imaging scans to help guide them while they:

  • Sterilize the treatment area.
  • Numb it with a local anesthetic.
  • Insert a needle into your back with contrast dye to confirm placement.
  • Inject medication or alcohol with a different needle, depending on the type of block given.

After Your Procedure

The appointment can take an hour, although the injections often only require a few minutes. Pain relief can occur within 15 minutes or half an hour. Even if you’re receiving outpatient treatment, you’ll be in recovery for up to two hours to ensure you don’t have any complications. Be advised that you won’t be allowed to drive yourself home from the procedure. Nor should you be alone for the rest of the day, so have a family member or buddy around to assist you.

Relief From Pancreatic Cancer Pain

Are you a California cancer patient suffering from severe abdominal pain? If so, Advanced Pain Medical Group may be able to help. We offer celiac plexus block treatments at 8 locations around Los Angeles, Ventura, and Kern counties. You don’t have to suffer in silence. Contact us today to learn more about your treatment options.