Getting Ready for a Celiac Plexus Block or Neurolysis
What is a Celiac Plexus Block or Neurolysis (nerve destruction)?
The celiac plexus is a group of nerves located in the abdomen. These nerves go to
the abdominal organs, glands and blood vessels. Feelings of pain from your
pancreas, caused by pancreatic cancer or pancreatitis, pass through the celiac
plexus. Blocking the celiac plexus with medicines that numb the area may help
reduce the pain.
A celiac plexus block uses steroids and numbing medicine to help reduce pain in
patients with chronic pancreatitis. A celiac plexus neurolysis uses a numbing
medicine and a type of alcohol to help reduce pain in patients with pancreatic
cancer. Both the block and the neurolysis use ultrasound.
Important – Read 1 week in advance.
Procedure may be cancelled if instructions are not followed
1. 7 days before, you should stop taking the blood thinner Effient® (prasugrel).
2. 5 days before, you should stop taking:
Blood thinners, such as Coumadin® (warfarin) or Plavix® (clopidogrel).
3. 2 days before, you should stop taking the blood thinner Pradaxa® (dabigatran).
Blood thinning pills should never be stopped without discussing this with the
doctor who prescribes it for you. The doctor will give you instructions on how to
safely do this. Contact us if you have questions.
4. Diabetic medicines (oral and insulin) will need to be adjusted for the time
you’re not eating as normal. Please discuss this with your primary doctor.
5. You must have an adult to drive you home or your exam will be cancelled.
You may take a cab or bus home only if you have a responsible adult with you
other than the driver.
6. Plan ahead. For your exam you will be given sedatives which can greatly
affect your judgment. On the day of your exam, you will not be able to drive
or return to work.
7. Our staff will need to review your health history, prior surgeries, allergies, and
medicines taken. Please bring this information with you.
8. If you use CPAP or BiPAP for sleep apnea, please bring it with you. We will
need your machine in order to sedate you safely.
9. If you have an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator, we will need specific
information about it before your procedure day. If you haven't already given
us this information, please call us during business hours (8:00 AM to 5:00 PM,
Monday through Friday) at (608) 263-8097. Ask to speak to the Procedure
Day of the Celiac Plexus Block or Neurolysis
1. No solid food, milk, or dairy products until after your exam.
2. Do not take liquid antacids before your exam.
3. You may drink clear liquids until 4 hours before you arrive (i.e., water, apple
juice, soda®, Gatorade®). You must stop for sedation to be given safely. Avoid
4. Take your normal medicines with a small sip of clear liquid up to 1 hour before
you arrive. Do not take the pills and supplements mentioned under
5. Follow the arrival and registration instructions in your cover letter. If you
are delayed, call us at (608)263-8094 to let us know you are going to be late.
If you are over 30 minutes late, we may have to cancel and reschedule. We do
our best to stay on time.
The Celiac Plexus Block or Neurolysis
A nurse will review your health history and place an IV. The IV is used to give
you medicines which make you feel drowsy and relaxed. Your doctor will talk to
you about possible complications which may include bleeding, low blood pressure
and diarrhea. The procedure will take about 30 minutes. You will then go to our
Recovery Room for about one to two hours. Your driver may sit with you there.
Once awake, you will be given something to drink.
Your doctor will discuss results with you before discharge. You and the doctor
who referred you will receive a copy of the report.
After the Celiac Plexus Block or Neurolysis
▪ Do not return to work.
▪ Do not drive.
▪ Do not use hazardous machinery.
▪ Do not make any important decisions.
▪ Plan to rest.
▪ Do not drink alcohol.
You should be able to resume normal daily tasks on the day after your exam.
You may have a mild sore throat – salt water gargles should help.
You may have some gas pains from the air used to distend your stomach. When
you belch you will expel the air and relieve any discomfort.
How to Contact Us
GI Procedure Center; 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM, (608) 263-8094.
After clinic hours, this number will give you the paging operator. Ask for the
Gastroenterology (GI) doctor on call. Leave your name and phone number with
the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942.
If you are not able to keep your appointment, please let us know 5 days in
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 7/2016. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7507.