A celiac plexus block is an injection around the celiac plexus of nerves that surrounds the aorta, the main artery in the abdomen. Normally these nerves control basic nerve functions. In certain conditions, these nerves can carry pain information from the gut or abdominal organ tissues back to the spinal cord and brain.
A celiac plexus block is performed to block the celiac plexus of nerves that go various organs and parts of the abdomen. This may in turn reduce pain in the abdomen. It is done as a part of the treatment of Chronic Pancreatitis and other types of Chronic Abdominal Pain.
It is done with the patient lying on stomach. The celiac plexus block is performed under sterile conditions. The skin on back is cleaned with antiseptic solution and the skin is then numbed with a local anesthetic. Then X-ray is used to guide the needle or needles into the proper position along the outside of the spine.
Neurolysis of the celiac plexus with alcohol or phenol is indicated to treat pain secondary to malignancies of the retroperitoneum and upper abdomen, but is usually avoided in chronic benign abdominal pain syndromes, such as chronic pancreatitis, because the durability of relief is several months only.
The patients who present early during their illness tend to respond better than those who have had symptoms for a long time.