Ganglion impar and sacrococcygeal blocks are nonsurgical options to treat tailbone or buttock pain. The ganglion impar is a bundle of nerves located at the end of the tailbone. A blockage of this can cause pain in the pelvis, rectum, anus, perineum, distal urethra, vagina, vulva, scrotum, and coccyx, or your tailbone. Sacrococcygeal refers to the area where the sacrum and coccyx are located.
These blocks treat pain in the buttocks and lower pelvic and groin caused by:
Vaginal or vulvar cancer
Rectal or anal cancer
Dysfunction or damage to organs in the area
Ganglion impar and sacrococcygeal blocks block pain signals from reaching your brain, thus reducing your pain. Patients typically experience long-term pain relief following the administration of these blocks. These blocks can treat multiple pelvic or perineal structures simultaneously and are minimally invasive procedures performed in a doctor’s office.
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about what medications you’re taking. They may ask you to stop taking or lower the dosage of certain medications such as blood thinners and immunosuppressant medications. If you’ll be sedated during the injections, you won’t be able to eat or drink for about four hours prior to the injections.
During the procedure, the medical professional administering the injection will use continuous X-rays, CT scan, or an ultrasound to guide the needle. If you’re being sedated, you’ll be given your general anesthetic before the medical professional uses a local anesthetic on your skin near your tailbone. Once the anesthetic takes effect, they’ll position the needle in front of the sacrum where the ganglion impar exists and inject the medication.
If you don’t get sedated, you’ll be able to drive yourself home following the injection. Still, doctors typically recommend having someone else drive you home regardless if you get sedated or not. Rest the remainder of your day before resuming normal activities the next day.
You’ll typically experience some pain relief after the injections that may last a few hours, weeks, or longer. You may experience pain located at the injection site, but this will dissipate after a few days.
While these injections pose very low risks of serious complications, some possible serious complications include damage to nearby organs, allergic reaction to the medication or anesthesia, and bleeding or infection at the injection site. You may also experience an increased blood sugar level for one to two days.