FAQ’s on Ganglion Impar Block
What is a Ganglion Impar Block?
The ganglion impar is located very near a patients coccyx (tailbone) and serves to provide sensation to the surrounding tissues and structures. Patients experiencing chronic pelvic pain or pain in their rectum stand a very reliable chance of obtaining full symptomatic relief with a ganglion impar block. The block works by numbing the nerve bundle (ganglion) to stop the transmission of pain signals from the nervous tissue to the brain, directly providing relief. Recent studies confirm the effectiveness of the ganglion impar block as an interventional treatment for pelvic and perineal pain (Ganglion impar blockade, 2013).
What will a Ganglion Impar Block treat?
The ganglion impar block is purposed to treat chronic pains located in either the pelvis of a patient or in the rectum. Blocks to the ganglion impar may also provide symptomatic relief to certain conditions of the abdomen, largely based on their proximity to the pelvis. Fibers of the ganglion impar reach into the urethra, the anus, the vulva, the perineum, and the vagina making pain in any of these areas potentially treatable with this injection. Certain types of pelvic cancer have been shown to be receptive to the therapeutic effects of a ganglion impar block (Transsacrococcygeal approach to ganglion impar for pelvic cancer pain, 2008).
How is a Ganglion Impar Block performed?
Performed as a simple outpatient procedure, patients will be able to undergo their ganglion impar block with relative ease. Patients will be asked to lie prone to grant access to their spine, where local anesthetic will be used to numb the injection site prior to the reception of a needle. Patients who wish to be sedated intravenously may request it.
Fluoroscopic imaging, which is a rapid series of X-rays used to create a real-time image, will be used to monitor and the guide the needle into the ganglion impar. After correctly positioning the needle into the nerve bundle, the attending physician will inject anesthetic to numb the nerves. The therapeutic effects should be felt by the patient almost immediately.
How well does a Ganglion Impar Block work?
- No relief The symptomatic pains do not diminish in anyway and do not fade over time, which is a strong indication that the block has failed and did not provide a therapeutic effect for recipient. This does make the treatment useless however, as it can serve as a reliable diagnostic tool that the ganglion impar was not the root source of pain for the patient.
- Partial relief The second possible result is that symptoms will fade for a little while, often no more than a couple of hours, but return and continue acting as a source of pain. With this result, it can be confirmed that the ganglion impar is the source of a patients pains and that numbing the nerve bundle will create relief.
The primary reason symptoms return in this result is that the steroidal supplement of the injection, designed to extend the duration of relief, has failed. Following this, the injection can be repeated with a different steroidal supplement where it will likely provide a more thorough therapeutic effect for the patient.
- Optimum relief The third result is that symptoms fade quickly, return in a diminished state briefly, and then diminish entirely in the following days. This is the ideal result, as both the anesthetic and the steroidal supplement have worked as they should to provide a patient complete relief of symptoms.
What are the risks of Ganglion Impar Blocks?
There are very minimal risks with a ganglion impar block. Risks include a small chance of soreness, bleeding, or infection at the injection site and the possibility of an allergic reaction to the components used. The single largest risk is that the ganglion impar block will not be able to provide relief for the patient.