What is a celiac plexus block?

A celiac plexus block is an injection of local anesthetic that temporarily interrupts activity in the sympathetic nerves in the abdomen. The celiac plexus is a group of nerves located in the abdomen, next to, but not in the spine. This group of nerves is part of a larger system of nerves call the autonomic nervous system. These nerves influence and help control the size of blood vessels and thus the flow of blood to the abdomen, particularly nerves that come from the pancreas, liver, gall bladder, stomach, and intestine.

What are the goals of a celiac plexus block?

  • To reduce and possibly eliminate pain
  • To increase function

How will a celiac plexus block help my condition?

The celiac plexus block temporarily interrupts the activity of celiac plexus nerves and provides pain relief. This procedure blocks the nerves that come from the pancreas, liver, gall bladder, stomach and intestine. You may require repeated injections for optimal pain relief.

What happens during a celiac plexus block?

You will remain awake for the entire procedure. An intravenous (IV) line will be started prior to the injection.

Once in the procedure suite:

  • You will be positioned lying face down.
  • The area for the injection will be washed with an antiseptic solution.
  • A local anesthetic will be used to numb the injection site.
  • You will be asked to remain as still as possible.
  • You may feel pressure during the needle placement and while the medication is injected.

How long is the procedure?

The entire procedure lasts about 25 minutes.

What happens after the procedure?

You will be monitored for approximately 15 minutes, because the medication takes some time to act. A nurse will review discharge and follow-up instructions with you.

You will need to carefully monitor the degree and duration of your pain relief. The day after your procedure, you may resume your normal daily activities.