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Keywords:

  • Chronic Pain;
  • Sympathetic Block;
  • Alternative Therapies;
  • Elderly;
  • Geriatric;
  • Gastrointestinal;
  • Hydrocodone;
  • Narcotics;
  • Nerve Block;
  • Opioids

Abstract

Objective

Chronic rectal pain secondary to radiation-induced proctitis is fast-becoming a leading cause of chronic pain, especially for prostate cancer survivors. Currently, many elderly patients resort to increased opioid intake to alleviate the pain. However, this increase in opioid consumption often leads to constipation and further aggravates the anorectal pain, thus leading to a perpetual, vicious cycle. We reasoned that blocking the ganglion impar could attenuate this sympathetically maintained pain, which would lead to a reduction in the consumption of opioids, lessen constipation, and lead to an improvement in the patient's quality of life.

Study Design

Case report.

Setting

An academic tertiary pain management clinic.

Results

The authors report the case of a 73-year-old African American man with a history of prostate cancer who presented to the pain management clinic for evaluation and treatment of his chronic anorectal pain secondary to radiation-induced proctitis. The patient underwent a ganglion impar block, using the transcoccygeal technique, and consequently reported excellent pain relief with little or no use for opioid pain medications at a 2-month follow-up. Ultimately, this approach led to improved mobility and an increase in the patient's quality of life.

Conclusions

Based on this case's success, a prospective study or randomized control trial evaluating the efficacy of the ganglion impar block as a treatment option for chronic anorectal pain secondary to radiation-induced proctitis appears warranted.