A superior hypogastric plexus block is a type of injection used to diagnose and treat pain in the lower part of the abdomen and the pelvis.
Your brain sends information to the body through pathways known as nerves. Nerves also receive information from the body and send it to the proper regions of the brain. A nerve plexus is a place in the body where many different nerves intersect. Nerves that communicate some types of pain signals from the lower abdomen and pelvis pass through the superior hypogastric plexus on their way to the brain.
Your superior hypogastric plexus sits in front of the spine in the lower part of your back. Nerves from several parts of the lower abdomen and pelvis pass through this plexus. That includes nerves from the following organs:
- Bladder or urethra
- Lower intestines
- Uterus, ovaries, or vagina
- Prostate, testicles, or penis
During this procedure, your doctor will place needles in your back on both sides of the spine and move them to a position in front of the spine where the superior hypogastric plexus is located. They will then will inject medicine into the area to ease pain.
You might need a superior hypogastric plexus block if you have pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis that stems from dysfunction or damage in the pelvic organs. Another name for pain from your organs is visceral pain. This type of pain is often constant and deep. It spreads out through the lower abdomen and pelvis rather than just in one particular spot.
For example, this procedure might help your pain if you have:
- Ovarian, cervical, endometrial, or uterine cancer
- Prostate or colon cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Injury to the pelvis from surgery or radiation treatment
- Chronic low abdominal or pelvic pain
Your doctor may use SHPB to diagnose the cause of your pain. They may do so by injecting numbing medicine (local anesthetic) in the area to see if your pain improves. The injection helps to pinpoint the pelvic organs as the source of pain. In other cases, SHPB can be used to treat your pain with injection of other medicine in the area.