Palliative care includes treatments that are aimed at lessening symptoms, such as pain, but they do not cure the disease. Pancreatic tumors can cause several types of complications, including gastrointestinal obstructions and other problems that may require additional treatments. Here, our physicians offer a wide array of palliative solutions, including the implantation of metal stents that "prop" open vessels and ducts to alleviate obstructions.
Our team includes pain management specialists dedicated to the treatment and control of cancer pain. This team is comprised of six anesthesiologists who focus on finding the most efficient pain control solutions. Treatment options include pain medication administered via different methods, including:
- Intravenous (through injection into a vein)
- Oral (by mouth)
- Peridural (through injection into spinal fluid or tissue near the spinal cord)
- Transdermal (through the skin, via pain patches or creams)
Portable and implantable infusion devices are used where indicated to ensure continued quality of life with the least amount of complications due to pain.
Powerful Nerve Blocks
One particularly effective pain management technique is neurolytic celiac plexus block (NCPB). NCPB involves the injection of medication directly into the nervous system to block the pain signals sent from the pancreas to the brain. Anesthesiologists perform this procedure with the aid of specialized X-ray techniques. Alcohol neurolysis of celiac plexus is a highly effective and efficient form of treatment. In most patients, we are able to substantially reduce pain while also decreasing the amount of medicine given to the patient by 50 to 70 percent. The majority of patients are able to return to activities for a reasonable period of time--without sedation and adverse side effects.