Hypogastric Plexus Block

A hypogastric plexus block is a procedure that can help treat pelvic pain.

Pelvic pain is pain in the area of the body below the stomach. Areas of the body that can be treated include:

  • Uterus
  • Ovaries
  • Bladder
  • Colon
  • Prostate
  • Testicles
  • Intestines
  • Other parts of the pelvis

Your physician may recommend this treatment if your pelvic pain is ongoing, or chronic. It may help if you do not get better taking medication.

What to Expect During a Hypogastric Plexus Block

You have nerves near the bottom of your spine called the hypogastric plexus. The hypogastric plexus has two parts.

During the procedure, your physician will inject medication into the hypogastric plexus. They will decide which part to inject depending on your pain symptoms.

Your care team will give you this treatment in the Northwestern Medicine Anesthesiology/Pain Medicine Clinic. They may give you a medication before the procedure to help you relax. You will lie on your stomach on an X-ray table.

During the procedure, your physician will:

  • Use an X-ray to locate the area to treat
  • Use a small needle to inject a local anesthetic into your skin to numb the area
  • Insert another needle into your back
  • Use the images on X-ray to guide the needle to the hypogastric plexus
  • Inject dye and take an image to confirm needle placement
  • Inject the pain medication

After the injection, you will stay in the clinic for about 30 minutes before going home.

After the block:

  • Your pelvic area might feel warm.
  • You may feel less pain.
  • You may feel immediate pain relief, but pain may come back after a few hours.

Longer-term pain relief usually begins after 48 to 72 hours. Pain relief can last weeks or years. In some cases, the pain returns sooner. If this happens, you and your physician may talk about having another hypogastric plexus block.