The sympathetic nervous system is associated with many pain conditions. Blocking sympathetic ganglia with local anesthetics can be used in the treatment of sympathetically mediated pain. A thoracic sympathetic block is used to treat painful conditions such as complex regional pain syndrome, postherpetic neuralgia, phantom breast pain, and peripheral vascular disease of the upper extremities.
A thoracic sympathetic block is performed via a percutaneous approach using fluoroscopic or computed tomographic guidance. The procedure is a safe, non-surgical treatment for those experiencing chronic pain, during which a needle is placed through the skin and local anesthetic is injected to alleviate pain. The block is performed in an outpatient setting and is considered minimally invasive because it requires no incisions. As opposed to a stellate ganglion block, a thoracic sympathetic block may be performed for the following reasons:
A thoracic sympathetic block is commonly used to treat conditions such as: