The stellate ganglion
(or cervicothoracic ganglion
) is a sympathetic ganglion
formed by the fusion of the inferior cervical ganglion
and the first thoracic ganglion
. Stellate ganglion is located at the level of C7 (7th cervical vertebrae
), anterior to the transverse process
of C7, posterior to the neck of the first rib
, and just below the subclavian artery
The clinical significance of these ganglion is that they may be cut in order to decrease the symptoms exhibited by Raynaud's phenomenon
(extreme sweating) of the hands. Injection of local anesthetics near the stellate ganglion can sometimes mitigate the symptoms of sympathetically
mediated pain such as complex regional pain syndrome
type I (reflex sympathetic dystrophy).
Stellate-ganglion block also shows great potential as a means of reducing the number of hot flashes and night awakenings suffered by breast cancer survivors and women experiencing extreme menopause.
Complications associated with a stellate ganglion block include Horner's syndrome, intra-arterial or intravenous injection, difficulty swallowing, vocal cord paralysis, epidural spread of local anaesthetic and pneumothorax.
Blunt needling of the stellate ganglion with acupuncture needle is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to decrease sympathetically mediated symptoms as well.
Block of the stellate ganglion has also been explored in coronary artery bypass surgery.