celiac plexus block

Celiac Plexus Block Treatment

The celiac plexus, formerly known as the solar plexus, is a nerve network in the belly. Painful signals and fundamental nerve functions from abdominal organs such as the pancreas are usually controlled by these nerves. They can, however, transmit pain signals from the gastrointestinal organ tissues to the spinal cord and brain under specific situations. By injecting local anesthetic into or surrounding the celiac plexus, a celiac plexus block relieves some of these unpleasant feelings.

At The Pain Relief Center, we understand that you’re desperate for pain relief. That’s why we offer a wide variety of treatments for a wider variety of conditions. No matter the source of your pain, we’ll find a way to treat you. To schedule a consultation with us, please call 214-709-1904 or fill out our online intake form today.

What Is the Celiac Plexus?

The nerve system includes the celiac plexus. The aorta, the body’s biggest blood vessel, lies adjacent to this bundle of nerves in the upper abdomen, which is located behind the pancreas.

The nerves of the celiac plexus send messages to the spinal cord and brain from the digestive system’s organs, including the following.

  • Stomach
  • Intestines
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Gallbladder 

What Is a Celiac Plexus Block?

A celiac plexus block is an injection-based pain management therapy. The therapy disables the celiac plexus nerves’ ability to transmit pain signals to the brain. It’s a nerve block of sorts. Generally, doctors use local anesthetics during the injection. However, they might also use epinephrine, clonidine, or a steroid to prolong the effects.

Celiac plexus blocks are used by doctors to treat individuals with pancreatic cancer or chronic pancreatitis. Abdominal discomfort is a common symptom of many diseases like these.

What Does a Celiac Plexus Block Treat?

Several conditions exist which cause moderate to severe pain of the celiac plexus. Thus, doctors use celiac plexus blocks to treat the following conditions.

  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Other cancers of the abdomen

This form of treatment is especially helpful when other pain management techniques don’t work.

Difference Between a Celiac Plexus Block and Neurolysis

A healthcare professional injects steroids or anesthesia into the nerves during a celiac plexus block. The medicine relieves pain for a short period of time. If the discomfort reappears, you may require further therapy. If you have pancreatitis, your doctor may suggest this therapy.

The celiac plexus nerves are irreversibly damaged by a neurolytic celiac plexus block, often known as neurolysis. An alcohol compound, such as ethanol or phenol, is injected into the celiac plexus by your doctor. The nerves are destroyed by the alcohol, and they are no longer able to deliver pain signals to the brain or spinal cord. If you have pancreatic cancer, your doctor may suggest this therapy.

How to Prepare for a Celiac Plexus Block

We recommend following the advice of your doctor when preparing for the procedure. Possible requests from them include the following.

  • Stop taking specific medications, such as blood thinners.
  • Refrain from eating or drinking for a certain length of time before the procedure. Anesthesia is a much safer procedure when the patient has an empty stomach.
  • Stop smoking and reduce your alcohol consumption. Both of these substances increase the risk of complications during the procedure.

What Happens During a Celiac Plexus Block?

A nerve block treatment can take up to an hour, while the injections themselves are usually only a few minutes long. You may go home the same day after a celiac plexus block because it is an outpatient treatment. Someone must drive you home and should accompany you throughout the day.

The operation is usually performed while you are lying prone on your stomach with a cushion under your hips. If lying on your stomach hurts too much, try lying on your back in the supine position. You will be given an intravenous sedative or medicine to help you relax.

In order to guide their hand, your doctor uses imaging scans. Types of scans include fluoroscopy X-rays, CT scans, and endoscopic ultrasounds. They guide the procedure along the proper path.

First, the doctor will sterilize the area with antiseptic, then numb it with a local anesthetic. Then, they insert the needle into your back. They confirm the needle’s correct placement by injecting contrast dye which shows up on the imaging scans. The first needle withdraws and they replace it with a second needle containing the nerve block. Once they inject the nerve block, they withdraw the needle.

Does a Celiac Plexus Block Hurt?

A needle is inserted into the skin and deeper tissues during the operation. As a result, there is some discomfort. However, we may use a very thin needle to numb the skin and underlying tissues with a regional anesthesia before inserting the real block needle. The majority of patients are also given intravenous sedatives to make the operation more bearable.

After the Nerve Block

After a nerve block, most patients have pain alleviation within 15 to 30 minutes. To ensure that you don’t have any issues, you’ll need to be at the office for 1 to 2 hours. Potential side effects include the following.

  • Swelling, soreness, or bruising
  • Infection at the site of treatment
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Muscle spasms

Risks and Complications of Celiac Plexus Blocks

These procedures usually do not result in complications. However, as with any medical procedure, it does still have risks. When complications are serious, they may include the following.

  • Allergic reactions to the contrast dye or the anesthesia
  • Decreased flow of blood to the spinal cord
  • Gastroparesis, or a slow emptying of stomach contents
  • Kidney or other organ damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Paralysis from a spinal cord injury
  • Seizures 

What Are the Benefits of a Celiac Plexus Block?

A celiac plexus block may be required to address severe stomach discomfort in people with pancreatic cancer or pancreatitis. When a person is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, around three out of four persons experience considerable stomach pain. Eventually, 9 out of 10 persons will be affected by this discomfort.

To treat severe discomfort, doctors generally prescribe powerful pain relievers. However, these medicines might have unpleasant side effects such as dizziness, constipation, and nausea. You may be able to lower the drug dose or quantity using a celiac plexus block.

Even with medication, more than half of those affected suffer from pain. Breakthrough pain is a term used to describe periods of extreme agony. The frequency of breakthrough pain can be reduced with a celiac plexus block.

Recovery After a Nerve Block

You will get instant pain alleviation. After the neurolytic celiac plexus block, you may have some discomfort for up to seven days after the first day. This is due to the alcohol irritating the organs in your abdomen.

After the treatment, most patients return to normal activities within 24 to 48 hours. For the first 24 hours, you should avoid driving, vigorous activity, and lifting. You should be able to get a ride home. We recommend that patients rest for a day or two following the surgery. Carry out the tasks that you are able to tolerate. Some individuals may need to begin physical therapy right away.

Barring any complications, most patients return to work the next day. The most common reports from patients are of soreness at the injection site. If you respond well to your first injection, your doctor will likely recommend more. We usually treat chronic abdominal pain with a series of celiac block injections. Some patients only need two at most, while others require four or more.

How Long Does a Celiac Plexus Block Last?

For six to 24 hours, the diagnostic block will provide effective pain relief. The pain alleviation after a neurolytic celiac plexus block generally lasts at least two months.

After the neurolytic celiac plexus block, you may need to continue using some of your pain medicines. It is not recommended that you cease using pain medications abruptly if you have been taking them for a long time prior to the neurolytic celiac plexus block. Before the operation, we will go over everything with you in detail.

Celiac Plexus Block Treatment in Dallas, Frisco, and Plano

At The Pain Relief Center, we understand that abdominal pain is sometimes debilitating. That’s why we offer a celiac plexus block for pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, and much more. If you or someone you know suffers from severe abdominal pain, we’re here to help. For pain management specialists in Dallas, you need the Pain Relief Center. Contact our office today at 214-709-1904 or fill out our online intake form.


The most critical step on the path to recovery is finding a pain management doctor who can address your pain management needs successfully. The Pain Relief Center and its five specialized institutes are dedicated to meeting any and all of a patient’s needs. Located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Dr. Rodriguez and his friendly staff will help you along the path to recovery.

Our new center in Dallas is part of a nationwide development by Pain Relief Centers, geared to providing individualized and comprehensive healing and pain management services with unprecedented levels of compassion, care, and comfort for each patient.

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