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Inferior Hypogastric Nerve Block

Hypogastric plexus blocks are medicinal injections designed to alleviate pelvic pain, which may originate from various organs such as the colon, bladder, lower intestines, uterus or ovaries, prostate or testicles, or other parts of the pelvis. The hypogastric plexus refers to a cluster of nerves situated near the base of your spinal cord.

The assembly of celiac, lumbar, hypogastric plexus, and splanchnic nerves converge near the spine to serve the internal abdominal or pelvic organs. A block administered with a local anesthetic can enhance circulation and reduce pain. When circulation is boosted, more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the affected area. The pain relief duration from this local anesthetic can vary significantly, lasting anywhere from a couple of hours to several hours or occasionally even days. If this procedure successfully alleviates your pain, a sequence of blocks might be recommended to interrupt the pain cycle.

Before Injection Instructions: Please inform our team if you have any allergies, particularly to iodine. If you’re scheduled to receive sedation, do NOT eat on the morning of the procedure. Insulin-dependent diabetics receiving sedation might need to adjust their insulin dose that morning due to not eating. Routine medications, such as those for high blood pressure or diabetes (e.g., Glucophage), can be taken as usual.

Patients should continue taking pain or anti-inflammatory medications on the day of the procedure. If a patient is on Coumadin or another blood thinner, they should alert the staff so a suitable plan can be made to stop the medication before the procedure. We usually advise that patients be accompanied by a driver who will be responsible for taking them home.

Procedure for Inferior Hypogastric Nerve Block: The patient is laid on their stomach on the procedure table to allow the physician to most effectively visualize the spine using x-ray guidance. The plexus or nerve to be blocked is located relative to the spine. The skin is cleaned using antibacterial soap. The physician then numbs a small area of skin with a local anesthetic, which may sting for a few seconds. Once the numbing medicine has had time to take effect, the physician uses x-ray guidance to direct a very small needle close to the target area for the block, and then a substantial amount of local anesthetic is injected.

Post-procedure: Following the procedure, the patient is moved to the recovery room. Patients are then asked to gauge their percentage of pain relief. Some temporary side effects may occur, including leg weakness, numbness, a warming sensation in the leg or legs, and back pain from the needle insertion. These effects usually last only a few hours. Patients may resume their regular activities on the day of the procedure, but driving is generally not advised on the procedure day.