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Suprascapular Nerve Block

Date issued:   October 2019

For review:  October 2021

Ref: F-57/SW/Pain Management/Suprascapular Nerve Block

PDF:  suprascapular nerve block [pdf] 175KB

When discharged after this procedure you may still have some of the following side effects:

  • Some discomfort around the injection site.
  • Tingly, numb, warm injection site.

These effects are expected to wear off gradually over the next 24-48 hours.

  • A temporary flare up of pain is sometimes reported. If  it is severe, reduce your activity for a few days, but try not to keep your shoulder immobile for too long as it can stiffen up, making movement later more difficult.
  • Consider taking standard pain relief, for example (Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Codeine) during this period. Even if these haven’t helped your chronic pain, these are usually helpful for initial soreness. Please continue with all your regular medications unless instructed otherwise to stop by a member of the team.

 Other recommendations:

  • Do not drive yourself if you have any difficulty moving your arm properly, until safe to do so.
  • If you have a numb arm/hands/fingers you may not feel pain /sharpness/temperature properly. While still numb, we recommend rest and that you are mindful of the limb position (changing it regularly) and avoid sharp /hot objects getting close.
  • Take it easy for the remainder of the day and resume normal activities as you feel able. Someone should be with you in the evening and overnight
  • Keep the dressing/plaster in place until the next day.  Avoid prolonged immersion in saunas or hot baths for at least 24 hours.
  • Please carefully note any change in your symptoms/pain and for how long the relief lasts. These outcomes will determine further treatment options and will be looked at during your next review.

A Pain Diary may be given to you.

Unfortunately not all patients respond to the injections, so some patients will have no effect from the procedure.

 

Complications:

  1. Bleeding or bruising that is more than minor. This usually settles with time.
  2. Infection, redness, increased tenderness and discharge of fluid.  If you feel unwell and have a temperature you should see your GP, who may recommend antibiotics, though this is uncommon.
  3. Nerve damage is extremely rare.  The risk is reduced using ultrasound guidance. If there is nerve damage it usually recovers, but may take several months, typically around 6 months, but on rare occasions it can be permanent.
  4. Pneumothorax, this procedure has a very low risk of puncturing the lung. This can make the lung collapse and sometimes cause a gradual build-up of pressure in the chest on the treated side affecting blood flow.  Symptoms of this would be increasing breathlessness and /or chest pain on the treated side, with feeling faint or dizzy.  These would usually be apparent at the time of your procedure or shortly afterwards, but if they occur later, you should seek urgent medical attention.

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