The superior hypogastric plexus is a bundle of nerves that are in front of the lumbar spine and contains nerve fibers that supply signals to and from the urethra, uterus, bladder, vulva, vagina, penis, testes, prostate, perineum, rectum, and descending colon. Patients who experience pain in these areas from conditions such as endometriosis, radiation injury, and cancer may benefit from an injection that not only provides relief, but also provides the physician with important diagnostic information about the source of your pain as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I find out if I am a candidate for a hypogastric plexus block?
Patients who experience chronic pain in the colon, bladder, lower intestines, uterus or ovaries, or prostate may benefit from a hypogastric plexus block. Keep in mind that hypogastric plexus blocks are not always a cure for the condition causing your pain, but rather a means of managing your pain and discomfort to improve your overall quality of life.
What should I expect during a hypogastric plexus block?
Hypogastric plexus blocks are typically performed with the use of a local anesthetic, much like what you’d receive from a dentist while getting a cavity filled. However, some patients prefer IV sedation as well. Once you are comfortable, the doctor will use a local anesthetic to numb the skin. Then, with x-ray guidance, the doctor will insert a thin needle into your mid-back and inject local anesthetic for comfort. Once the needle is properly placed in the desired position, the doctor will inject anesthetic around the anatomical area where the bundle of nerves is typically located. Usually, the procedure takes less than 30 minutes, and you can go home the same day.
What types of results can I expect after undergoing a hypogastric plexus block?
Many patients report immediate relief following the procedure due to the anesthetic medication used during the injection. Occasionally patients may complain of soreness for 1-2 days following the procedure. Some patients may need a course of injections to obtain the desired level of pain relief.