The procedure you will be having will help you and your physician confirm where your pain generator is located. A special X-ray, fluoroscope, will help your physician place the needle precisely at the sympathetic nerve branch which could be receiving you pain signals. Once the needle is in place local anesthetic and a small amount of steroid medication will be injected around each sympathetic nerve ganglia. This procedure will take about 20-30 minutes. Your input regarding how you feel, how much your pain is decreased, and whether or not you are able to be more active in the first few hours after your procedure is very important information. Your physician will be asking you questions about your pain immediately after your procedure has been completed and again at your post-op visit. Generally, diagnostic blocks only provide pain relief for up to 6 hours after the procedure. Remember this procedure is diagnostic, not therapeutic, so the pain relief is temporary. However, even if you only receive a few hours of pain relief it confirms that the procedure was successful in blocking your pain generator. Diagnostic blocks are designed to help your physician determine what the next step will be in the treatment decision.
This procedure may create mild soreness at the injection site, but you will not have significant discomfort after this procedure. Therefore you will not need pain medication after this procedure. If you are currently taking pain medication, we would prefer that you decrease or stop your pain medication 24 hours prior to your procedure and limit the use for 24 hours after the procedure.