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Retroperitoneal Abscess After Neurolytic Celiac Plexus Block From The Anterior Approach
  1. Jose Navarro-Martinez, M.D.,
  2. Antonio Montes, M.D., Ph.D., D.E.A.A.,
  3. Olga Comps, M.D. and
  4. Antonio Sitges-Serra, M.D., Ph.D.
  1. From the Pain Unit, Department of Anesthesiology and Department of Surgery, Hospital Universitario del Mar, Barcelona, Spain
  1. Reprint requests: A. Montes, MD, PhD, DEAA, Pain Unit, Department of Anesthesiology, Hospital Universitario del Mar, Passeig Maritim 25-29, 08003, Barcelona, Spain. E-mail: amontes{at}


Background and Objectives The anterior approach for celiac plexus block has the potential risks of infection, hemorrhage, and fistula formation. We report a case of a patient who developed a retroperitoneal abscess with the formation of a vascular-enteric fistula after a neurolytic celiac plexus block from the anterior approach.

Case Report A 60-year-old female with a history of pain secondary to chronic idiopathic calcifying pancreatitis (VAS 7-8) underwent a subtotal resection of the head of the pancreas with an end-to-side pancreatojejunostomy using a Roux-en-Y loop. Pain continued secondary to chronic pancreatitis. Because of intolerance (vomiting and constipation) of morphine and transdermal fentanyl over a 2-month period, it was decided to perform a neurolytic celiac plexus block using the anterior approach with ultrasound guidance. The patient's pain was completely relieved, enabling withdrawal of oral analgesics. Pain reappeared after 2 years, and the same technique was repeated. Ten days later, she was admitted with diabetic ketoacidosis and lower gastrointestinal bleeding. Computed tomography showed a left paravertebral retroperitoneal abscess; arteriography suggested a fistula between the mesenteric vein and the jejunum. Urgent surgery was undertaken, revealing a leak of the pancreatojejunostomy and a large abscess around the celiac plexus. A distal pancreatectomy and partial resection of the Roux-en-Y loop was performed. The patient was discharged 1 month later in good clinical condition. Because of recurrent pain, she has required repeated neurolytic celiac plexus blocks via a posterior approach without complications.

Conclusion The posterior approach for neurolytic celiac plexus block should be considered in particular in patients with previous pancreatic surgery.

  • Neurolytic celiac plexus block
  • Retroperitoneal abscess

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