FAQs on Ganglion Impar Block in Atlanta

A ganglion impar block is a procedure used for chronic pelvic, tailbone, and/or rectal pain. By blocking nerve impulses, this procedure can be both diagnostic and therapeutic. The ganglion impar is a mass of nerves located at the level of the coccyx (tailbone).

What happens when a ganglion impar block is done?

One of three things will happen with a ganglion impar block. These include:

  1. The pain will not go away, which indicates that it is not related to the nerves of the ganglion impar (diagnostic value).
  2. The pain will go away and stay gone for only a few hours before returning. This means the pain arises from the nerves at the level of the injection, but the medication was not helpful (diagnostic value).
  3. The pain goes away after the block and continues to improve over the next few days (therapeutic value). This means the steroid medication worked.

Will the injection hurt?

The ganglion impar block procedure does involve the insertion of a needle through the skin and deeper tissues, so there is a slight discomfort. However, the tissues are numbed with a local anesthetic (lidocaine) delivered through a small needle.

How is the ganglion impar block performed?

The ganglion impar block only takes around 15 minutes to perform, but there are some prep work. You will be positioned on your stomach, and a nurse will cleanse your back with an antiseptic solution.

Using an x-ray machine (fluoroscope), the doctor can visualize the body to guide the needle to the correct spot. The local anesthetic and steroid is injected through the needle near the ganglion impar, and the needle is then removed. The nurse will apply a bandage, which you can remove the next day.

What can I expect after the procedure?

Immediately after the injection, you may possibly feel immediate relief of pain due to the local anesthetic. However, this only lasts a few hours. Your pain will return and you can experience soreness for 24-48 hours.

Because you may be given a sedative, we require you to bring someone to drive you home and advise you to take it easy for a day or two after the ganglion impar block. Apply an ice pack to the back for 20 minutes 3-4 times each day, and return to normal activities the following day.

How long does the effect of the block last?

Depending on the medication injected, relief can last from 2 hours to 3 weeks. The location, shape, and size of the ganglion impar nerves varies from person to person. Because of these factors, there is a possible risk that the block may not be effective.

What are the risks associated with the ganglion impar block?

The risks and complications of the ganglion impar block are few. However, the needle can be misplaced, causing bleeding, nerve injury, or vessel damage. There is also the remote chance of infection or allergic reaction to medications.

What results can I expect after the ganglion impar block?

In a recent clinical study to evaluate the effectiveness of the ganglion impar block on perineal pain, the majority of patients reported a reduction in pain scores immediately after the block, and they maintained this relief for 4 months. In another study, patients reported between 50 and 75% in pain score reduction following this procedure.