The suprascapular nerve block procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and its goal is to help manage pain and discomfort caused by arthritis, bursitis, acute injury, cases of frozen shoulder, surgery, or the suprascapular nerve being impinged. The suprascapular nerve functions as the major motor nerve that supports the shoulder muscles.
Before the procedure commences, the patient is positioned in a manner where the back of the shoulder is clearly accessible. The area is sterilized using an antiseptic solution and then a local anesthetic is applied to numb the site of the injection.
A fluoroscopic device is used for this procedure to assist in guiding the needle towards the suprascapular nerve at the point where it passes the scapula and acromion regions of the shoulder. To help ensure that the needle is correctly placed, a contrast dye is injected into the area to ensure accuracy. Once that occurs, a minute amount of anesthesia is injected into the area. This is done to help determine whether that specific area is the source of the pain which is can be determined by whether the patient experiences partial or full relief from the pain. This part of the procedure is done more for diagnostic purposes than for pain relief purposes.
Once the diagnosis has been made, a medication that will help provide pain relief for an extended period of time is administered. Cortisone is administered via the needle, drenching the nerve and tissues, helping to reduce pre-existing inflammation.
Once the procedure is complete, the needle is carefully pulled out and a bandage is applied to the site of the injection. Patients can typically expect to begin feeling long-lasting pain relief anywhere from 2 to 7 days following the procedure. This procedure helps to ensure that medication needs are reduced subsequent to surgery and hasten the patient’s discharge.