What Is A Stellate Ganglion Block

SGB injections have shown to be an effective treatment for PSTD and other disorders that result from trauma, most often anxiety and depression.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost? Can insurance cover?

Currently a Stellate Ganglion is self-pay with insurance companies only covering an SGB injection when it is used to treat pain. 

The cost of one injection is $1,750. You may also choose to schedule two injections for $2,800.

*Financing options are available.

How do I know if I am good candidate?

If you suffer from PTSD or other Trauma then you may be a good candidate. Our dedicated team of providers will review your medical history during your initial consultation and make a recommendation from there.

If SGB is determine as the right option then an injection appointment can be scheduled. If it is determine that SGB injections are not right for you then we can connect you with our Behavioral & Mental Health partners and TMS partners to discuss alternative treatment options. 

How Quickly Can I Get Treated?

An initial consultation schedule be scheduled within 1-2 weeks. After the initial consultation, a procedure date can typically scheduled within 1-3 weeks. 

How Soon and How Long Do The Effects Last?

Results tend to vary per patient, but many studies have shown that an SGB can last between a few month to even a few years. Relief can start within a few minutes, days, or weeks after the initial injection. A second injection may be helpful 4-8 weeks after the initial.

Are there any side effects?

While SGB has many positive effects over the long term, some patients may feel short-term side effects. Review all the side-effects here.

Can the treatment help complex PTSD?

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Get the help you need today with the help of the stellate ganglion block treatment for PTSD! You are one appointment away from taking back your life and living symptom-free.

The History of the Stellate Ganglion Block Treatment

The United States first used SGB in 1925. The main reason for the treatment was to bring relief to people who are suffering from chronic pain. By 1945, the Cleveland Clinic started using stellate ganglion block as a treatment for depression. 

The treatment was soon forgotten for its potential in mental health disorders, but in 1998, a Finnish doctor decided to treat a patient with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and hand sweating. The treatment involved clipping the T2 ganglion to modulate the sympathetic nervous system. The procedure was successful, and the patient reported experiencing relief from PTSD and hand sweats. However, further research determined that the doctor could have achieved greater success had he performed a safe stellate ganglion block treatment in the neck instead of the chest. 

Today, the SGB is considered an efficient treatment for PTSD and becoming a viable option for other mental health conditions. While there is still a lot to learn about SGB, patients who have suffered sexual assault, other victims of crime, first responders, and many others struggling with PTSD can benefit from this groundbreaking treatment.

What Is Stellate Ganglion Block Treatment?

The stellate ganglion is a cluster of nerve cells located in the upper chest. It is responsible for controlling the sympathetic nervous system, which regulates the body's fight-or-flight response. When the sympathetic nervous system is overactive, it can lead to conditions such as high blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety. 

A stellate ganglion block is a procedure that involves injecting a local anesthetic into the stellate ganglion to disable the sympathetic nervous system temporarily. The area is located on either side of your voice box on your neck. This can provide relief from conditions that are caused by sympathetic nervous system overactivity. The treatment can also help with improving circulation to the arm.

The Fight-or-Flight Response

The stellate ganglion is also responsible for controlling the fight-or-flight response. This is the body's natural response to stress and danger. When the stellate ganglion is blocked, these functions are temporarily disrupted, which can provide relief from conditions like pain, anxiety, and hypertension.

Some of the conditions that SGB Injections can treat are:

Conditions Treated by Stellate Ganglion Blocks:

Mental Health Conditions:

Long Covid Symptoms:

Research also shows that SGB can be used to treat long COVID symptoms. People with long COVID symptoms experience shortness of breath, fatigue, brain fog, and long-term loss of smell and taste. 

How Is a Stellate Ganglion Block Performed?

The procedure is pretty simple and can take less than ten minutes to perform. You will lie on your back and given intravenous medication to ensure you are completely relaxed and calm. It involves a thin needle being inserted into your neck near the voice box. With the help of an ultrasound guide or X-ray, the doctor will insert a second needle containing anesthetic into the area. Every effort gets made by your doctor to ensure you are comfortable and stress-free. 

When you come to SGB Docs, expect the whole process to take approximately one hour. From talking to your doctor about your questions, concerns, and what to expect in the ten minute SGB procedure. You will be left feeling informed, well-cared for, and ready to take on the road to recovery. Then, after being monitored for 20 minutes, you will be well on your way. 

We are located in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Our SGB specialists are board certified, highly-trained in this procedure. We are dedicated to ensuring you are comfortable during the procedure. Remember that it can take hours, days, or months for the initial injection to take effect, so be patient with your recovery. Some patients do require a second dosage between four to eight weeks after the first procedure. 

Is the Stellate Ganglion Block Treatment Effective?

Every patient is different, and results vary for everyone. Some patients have needed a second treatment because the pain wore cam back after the anesthetic wore off. However, thousands of patients have reported immediate relief from the symptoms of their conditions, and the treatment has been highly effective. Those who have experienced long-term relief report using less medication and are more interested in their physical therapy treatment.

Some patients experience relief for weeks, and others require a series of injections to aid in reducing their symptoms. It could take two injections, or sometimes ten. Recognize that the relief will be longer with every treatment you undergo. 

Stellate Ganglion Block Treatment for PTSD

While the stellate ganglion block treatment is highly effective for pain relief, few people understand the excellent benefits it can have for those who have PTSD. According to research, PTSD diagnoses have increased due to symptoms being easier to identify, thus making it easier to diagnose. In addition, there is an increase in large-scale civilian and military traumatic events occurring worldwide. As a result, there is an urgent need for PTSD treatments, and the stellate ganglion block treatment is becoming a well-known procedure helping many patients relieve their symptoms.

When someone suffers from PTSD, they often have a hyperactive sympathetic nervous system, which can lead to a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Insomnia
  • Numbness
  • Avoidance
  • Nightmares
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Hypervigilance

A stellate ganglion block can help to alleviate these symptoms by interrupting the sympathetic nervous system. This can lead to a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as an improvement in mood and sleep. In addition, a stellate ganglion block can help to reduce the intensity of flashbacks and nightmares.

Whether PTSD, anxiety, or depression, if you have had a positive response to SGB, you will benefit greatly from further treatment. During a traumatic event, we naturally release the hormone cortisol by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system and hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis. You can take control of the sympathetic nervous system by getting the stellate ganglion block. The treatment might not cure your symptoms as there may be triggers that cause PTSD symptoms to resurface, but ongoing treatment can significantly improve them. 

A stellate ganglion block is a safe and effective treatment for PTSD. It is typically well tolerated and has few side effects. If you are suffering from PTSD, talk to your doctor about the possibility of a stellate ganglion block. This procedure has the potential to significantly improve your quality of life. 

Potential Side Effects of SGB

With every procedure comes a level of risk. With the stellate ganglion block treatment, the risk of side effects is unlikely. However, they can occur. 

Side effects that can last a few hours include:

  • Pain in the Injection Site
  • Drooping Eyelids
  • Nasal Stuffiness
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Arm Tingles or Warm Sensations
  • Hoarse Voice

The most common effect that patients experience is recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy. Women with few neck muscles report this problem the most. More serious complications include hemorrhage, infection, or nerve injury. 

Once you have had the treatment, you will have to wait 24 hours before driving or performing strenuous activity, and you can begin to eat solid foods after about four to six hours. 

When You Should Get a Stellate Ganglion Block 

Stellate ganglion block procedure can be risky if not performed by a physician. However, doctors who have experience in anesthesiology are generally well-versed in this treatment. CRPS and PTSD are both characterized by chronic, debilitating symptoms that can significantly interfere with daily functioning. While there is no cure for either condition, treatments like stellate ganglion block can provide significant relief. In a study of veterans with PTSD, nearly 70% reported improvements in symptoms after stellate ganglion block treatment.

The stellate ganglion block enhances blood flow in the tissue and has proven to create a variety of positive consequences that intrigue pain clinic doctors. For example, patients that have gotten SGB treatment during the spring have experienced much fewer hay fever symptoms than they usually get. In addition, patients with dry skin at the bottom of their feet begin to feel smoother than normal. 

In theory, SGB treatment should only work on the top half of the body. However, we see positive effects in many new ways. More research is required, but there have been positive effects on the endocrine system, immune system, and autonomic nerves.

Does Insurance Cover the Stellate Ganglion Block Treatment?

Since research for long COVID is still underway, more data is required to understand the long-term treatment of SGB and long COVID. While we see excellent results, it is not enough for insurance companies to cover and support the treatment. 

SGB and its incredible results for PTSD patients have been studied for over a decade. Veterans who get treatment through the Veterans Affairs facilities have produced significant data and become the foundation of these studies. Psychiatrists and anesthesiologists have extensively utilized SGB for 20 years. However, insurance companies have yet to approve this groundbreaking treatment. 

Minimizing PTSD Symptoms

PTSD is a condition that can be debilitating for sufferers. It can cause a person to feel isolated, anxious, and angry. Symptoms of PTSD can include intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and nightmares. Many people with PTSD struggle to cope with their symptoms and find it hard to lead a normal life.

One treatment for PTSD that is gaining popularity is the stellate ganglion block. This treatment involves injecting a local anesthetic into the stellate ganglion, a cluster of nerve cells in the neck. The blockage of these nerves is thought to help reduce the symptoms of PTSD.

The stellate ganglion block is a relatively new treatment, and more research is needed to determine its efficacy. However, many people who have undergone the treatment report a decrease in their PTSD symptoms. If you are struggling with PTSD, talk to your doctor about whether the stellate ganglion block may be a good treatment option for you.

Final Thoughts

The stellate ganglion is part of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the body's "fight-or-flight" response. When the sympathetic nervous system is activated, it can cause symptoms like increased heart rate, sweating, and difficulty sleeping. A stellate ganglion block can help to reduce these symptoms. 

Studies have shown that stellate ganglion blocks can be effective in treating PTSD. For example, one study found that 70% of people who received a stellate ganglion block had a significant reduction in PTSD symptoms. One of the great things about this treatment is that it is non-invasive and relatively short-acting. That means you can get relief from your symptoms without having to undergo surgery or take medication for a long period of time.

SGB Docs patients who suffer from PTSD, anxiety, and depression report that they feel significantly better after the first dose. In addition, we offer our patients competitive pricing and financing options to suit you needs. Contact us today to get started.

Patient Testimonials

Our board-certified SGB doctors have over 40 years of combine experience in medicine with a shared goal of helping patients restore their health and wellness. We believe SGB treatment is an excellent option to make that possible. But don't just take our word for it. Check out some of our patient success stories.

* Audio from SGB Injection patient with their expressed consent to share. Photo is not of actual patient.

Patient Testimonial

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