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Facial Pain: A Possible Therapy with Stellate Ganglion Block


Ilaria Salvaggio, MD, Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Institute, Catholic University, Medical School, Rome, Italy. Tel: 0039 06 30 15 45 07-43 86; Fax: 0039 06 30 13 145; E-mail:


Objective.  The goal of the present study is to verify the efficacy of stellate ganglion block (SGB) in the treatment of facial pain that can be found in different pathological syndromes, and also to examine whether the efficacy is dependent upon when this therapy is administered.

Patients.  Fifty patients (divided into two randomized groups) with facial pain caused by traumas, iatrogenic issues, herpes zoster, or neurological pathologies participated in this study.

Design and Interventions.  The first group (N = 25) was treated with SGB produced by 10 administrations of 10 mg of levobupivacaine given every other day, followed by one administration per month for 6 months thereafter. The second group was treated with the drugs tramadol 100 mg/day and gabapentin 1800 mg/day orally for 6 months; during the 7th month they were given SGB therapy using the same methodology as that described for the first group.

Results.  Before treatment, the mean visual analog scale (VAS) pain score for the first group was 8.89; after the 10th block treatment it was just 0.2, and it remained at that reduced level for the 6th and 12th months. Before treatment, the mean VAS pain score for the second group was 8.83; after the 20th day on medication it was reduced to 4.1, after 6 months it was 5.7 and after 12 months it was 4.9.

Conclusions.  Our results indicate that patients must be treated with SGB therapy precociously to receive its full benefits.