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Ganglionic Local Opioid Analgesia at the Superior Cervical Ganglion: MRI-Verified Solution Spread.

Pain and Therapy 2024 April 26
INTRODUCTION: Ganglionic local opioid analgesia (GLOA) at the superior cervical ganglion (SCG) is performed for pain control and is known to be an effective procedure. In this study, we evaluated the spread of the injectate in the area of the SCG. Our expectation was that there would be a correlation between the area and volume of the injectate spread and post-procedural outcome measures.

METHODS: This was a retrospective blinded review of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Assessors evaluated the anatomical area of fluid spread, the furthermost spread from midline, any hampered spread and contact of contrast fluid with other structures. The efficacy of GLOA and complications were estimated.

RESULTS: The main solution spread reached from the C1 to C3 vertebrae. The furthest spread in the lateral and sagittal planes was 21.2 and 15.2 mm, respectively. The furthest craniocaudal spread was 63.5 mm. In 53.3% and 33% of interventions, the solution was found in the parapharyngeal space and in its "medial compartment," respectively. A correlation was found between pain relief and both solution spread and volume of solution spread. No hampered spread was recorded. A negative correlation between pain reduction and number of GLOA was observed. Higher pre-procedural pain intensity was correlated with higher pain reduction. We estimated pain relief in 93% of procedures correctly. No correlation between post-procedural Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) scores and different needle approaches was found.

CONCLUSION: For the transoral blocking technique, a strict laterodorsal needle direction is recommended to prevent possible block failures. A total volume of 2 ml injected into the parapharyngeal space and its "medial compartment" is recommended. Higher volumes may lead to uncontrolled distribution patterns.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT05257655; date of registration 2022-02-25; patient enrollment date from 2023-01-09 to 2023-08-31.

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