DG Journal Club
BMJ Case Rep. 2022 Jan 6; 15(1)
A 59-year-old woman underwent an open pancreaticoduodenectomy. Thoracic patient controlled-epidural anaesthesia provided excellent incisional pain relief; however, the patient experienced intractable left shoulder pain (10/10 on the Numerical Rating Scale). To our knowledge, there is no effective established treatment for patients experiencing shoulder pain after an open pancreaticoduodenectomy. The patient’s shoulder pain did not respond to medical management with acetaminophen, ketorolac, lidocaine transdermal patch, oxycodone and hydromorphone. Then, on postoperative day 2, the acute pain service was consulted. Considering that the sphenopalatine ganglion block has been previously reported to be helpful in a number of painful conditions, including shoulder tip pain after thoracic surgery, we offered this treatment to the patient. After just one topical sphenopalatine ganglion block, using a cotton-tipped applicator, the patient’s shoulder pain entirely resolved and did not return. This is the first report of a successful treatment of intractable ipsilateral shoulder pain following an open pancreaticoduodenectomy with transnasal sphenopalatine ganglion block.