Ultrasound-Assisted Versus Fluoroscopic-Guided Lumbar Sympathetic Ganglion Block: A Prospective and Randomized Study

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Fluoroscopy (FL)-guided lumbar sympathetic ganglion block (LSGB) is widely performed to diagnose and manage various diseases associated with sympathetically maintained pain. Recently, numerous ultrasound (US)-assisted procedures in pain medicine have been attempted, showing an advantage of low radiation exposure. This randomized, prospective trial compared the procedural outcomes and complications between FL-guided and US-assisted LSGBs.


Fifty LSGBs were randomly divided into 2 groups: FL-guided (FL group) or US-assisted (US group) LSGB group. Both groups received FL-guided or US-assisted LSGB with 10 mL of 0.25% levobupivacaine. The primary end point was the total procedure time. Secondary outcomes were success rate, imaging time, onset time (based on temperature rise), dosage of radiation exposure, other procedure-related outcomes, and complications.


Total procedure time and success rate were not statistically different between the 2 groups, whereas imaging time of the US group was longer than that of the FL group (P = .012). The onset time was faster in the US group (P = .019), and bone touching during the procedure was less frequent in the US group (P = .001). Moreover, radiation exposure was significantly lower in the US group than in the FL group (P < .001). No serious complications were reported in all patients.


US-assisted LSGB appears to be a feasible method with the added benefit of lower radiation exposure. In our study, we did not find an advantage of US-assisted LSGB over FL-guided LSGB in terms of performance time.

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