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Suprascapular Nerve Block

What is the suprascapular nerve?

A suprascapular nerve is the major sensory supply to the shoulder joint and motor supply to the Supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles.

 What is the purpose of the injection?

This injection is used to treat arthritis or bursitis of the shoulder joint. This is done for diagnostic as well as therapeutic purposes. Diagnostically, the block is used to confirm suprascapular nerve irritation or entrapment. 

What is injected?

This injection consists of a local anesthetic and steroid.

Does the procedure hurt?

The procedure is done with x-ray guidance and involves inserting a needle through skin and deeper tissues. There is some discomfort involved. However, the skin and deeper tissues are numbed with a local anesthetic. Most of the patients also receive intravenous sedation which makes the procedure easy to tolerate.

What are the risks and side effects?

With any procedure there are risks, side effects and possibility of complications. Risks include pneumothorax (lung puncture) or nerve injury.

What should I expect after the injection?

After the injection, your pain will be decreased which is a result of the local anesthetic.  

What should I do to prepare for the procedure?

1. You must have someone with you. You will not be allowed to drive home.
2. You may take routine medications including pain medicine.
3. You must not eat or drink 6 hours prior to your procedure unless otherwise directed.

What should I expect the day of the procedure?

1. Your medical history will be reviewed.
2. An IV will be started, and you may be given some relaxing medication.
3. You will be monitored during and for a minimum of 30 minutes after the procedure.

If you get temporary relief from this procedure, then you may be a candidate for radio frequency lesioning of the suprascapular nerve. This procedure gives longer lasting relief.