Stellate ganglion block has mostly been used to relieve symptoms of neuropathic pain; several potential complications have been reported. Noninvasive stellate ganglion block application using light irradiation (SG-LI) can be used as an alternative to conventional injection blockades. Based on the variety of application protocols among previous studies, it was needed to further identify the clinical efficacy of SG-LI in managing neuropathic pain or other disorders associated with sympathetic hyperactivity.Design
A comprehensive search of online databases was performed to identify experimental or observational studies reporting the efficacy of SG-LI in treating patients with disorders requiring sympatholytic management. The included studies were subjected to a meta-analysis and risk-of-bias assessment.Results
Twenty-one experimental studies with a Physiotherapy Evidence Database score of 6/10 and 5 observational studies with a Newcastle-Ottawa scale score of 7/9 were included in the analysis. A significant effect on pain relief favoring SG-LI was identified at a standard mean difference (SMD) of −2.05 [95% confidence interval (CI), −2.49 to −1.61; P < 0.00001]. Similar effects favoring SG-LI were found in peripheral blood flow (SMD, 1.26; 95% CI, 0.26–2.25; P = 0.01) and skin temperature (SMD, 1.31; 95% CI, 0.55, 2.08; P = 0.0007).Conclusions
Stellate ganglion block application using light irradiation effectively relieves pain of various etiologies and successfully induces a sympatholytic response. Stellate ganglion block application using light irradiation may be a valuable addition to the contemporary pain management armamentarium.