A stellate ganglion block is an injection of local anesthetic into the front of the neck to reduce pain located in the head, neck, chest or arm. The nerves that are injected are part of the sympathetic nerve tissue of the neck, and are located on either side of the voice box, in the neck.
A stellate ganglion block blocks the sympathetic nerves that go to the arms, and, to some degree, the sympathetic nerves that go to the face. This may in turn reduce pain, swelling, color and sweating changes in the upper extremity and may improve mobility. It is done in the treatment of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), Sympathetic Maintained Pain, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Herpes Zoster (shingles) involving an arm, or the head and face.
The actual injection takes only a few minutes. The injection consists of a local anesthetic. Epinephrine or steroid medication may be added to prolong the effects of the stellate ganglion block.