Lumbar Sympathetic Ganglion Injection
The lumbar sympathetic ganglion is a bundle of nerves located just in front of the lower spine. It is responsible for the body’s “fight-or-flight” response. It can transmit pain when injured.
A lumbar sympathetic ganglion injection can be used to treat painful conditions in the leg and foot, including:
- Complex regional pain syndrome – chronic pain in an arm or leg
- Phantom limb pain – pain or discomfort that feels as though it is coming from a limb that is not there (such as following amputation)
- Hyperhidrosis – excessive sweating
- Vascular disease – conditions of the circulation system
- Peripheral neuropathic pain disorders – damage to nerves
You will have this procedure in the Northwestern Medicine Anesthesiology/Pain Medicine Clinic.
What to Expect During a Lumbar Sympathetic Ganglion Injection
During the procedure:
- You will lie face down on the procedure table.
- You may be sedated so the procedure is more comfortable.
- Your care team will clean your back.
- They will drape your back to keep the area sterile.
- Your physician will use a small needle to numb the skin with a local anesthetic.
- Using an X-ray for guidance, your physician will place needles on either side of your spine and move toward the front of the spine.
- Your physician will inject a contrast dye to confirm the correct position of the needle.
- They will inject a local anesthetic and, in some cases, steroid.
- You will likely feel a temperature change in the limb on the affected side.
Many patients will have immediate pain relief. However, you may need several injections for long-lasting pain relief.
Complications can include:
- Allergic reaction
- Nerve injury
- Injury to the surrounding tissue