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The Spread of Solutions during Stellate Ganglion Block
  1. Quinn H. Hogan, M.D.*,
  2. Stephen E. Abram, M.D.*,
  3. Scott J. Erickson, M.D.** and
  4. David J. Haddox, D.D.S., M.D.*,
  1. *From the Departments of Anesthesiology,
  2. **Radiology, and
  3. Psychiatry, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
  1. Address correspondence to Quinn H. Hogan, M.D., Department of Anesthesiology, Milwaukee County Medical Complex, 8700 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53226.


Background and Objective. Though cervical paratracheal injections for the purpose of sympathetic block are customarily referred to as stellate ganglion blocks, there is no documentation of the actual site of local anesthetic action. The objective of this study is to test whether solution travels to the stellate ganglion during injections commonly used to anesthetize it.

Methods. In eight volunteers, magnetic resonance imaging was used to delineate the distribution of 15 ml saline injected by an anterior paratracheal technique at the sixth and seventh cervical vertebral levels.

Results. Injectate was not delivered to the stellate ganglion but rather passed anterior to it.

Conclusions. The findings suggest that sympathetic neural block during stellate ganglion block may take place at sites other than the stellate ganglion.

  • Stellate ganglion block
  • sympathetic block.

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  • Presented in part at the annual meeting of the American Society of Regional Anesthesia, Cincinnati, April 4-7, 1991.