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What Is the Ganglion Impar?

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  • Written By: Paul Cartmell
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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Ganglion impar is a block of nerves located around the tip of the coccyx found at the base of the human spine. The exact location, size, and shape of the nerve block varies in people and can result in the nerves failing to relieve pain from regions of the body connected by fibers to the nerves. People suffering from pain from the regions connected to the ganglion impar often receive treatments including steroid injections to stimulate and alleviate pain caused by improperly working nerves.

Located at the base of the coccyx, which is also known as the tailbone of the human body, the ganglion impar is a collection of nerves receiving information from regions of the body such as the anus and perineum. The positioning of the nerves ranges from the tip of the coccyx to around 1 inch (25 to 30 millimeters), from the base of the coccyx. Fibers connect regions of the lower portion of the torso with the nerve block with fibers passing to the sacral and coccygeal spinal nerves to carry information regarding pain around the body.

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Problems with the ganglion impar communicating and functioning properly with the spinal nerves and regions of the body are characterized by pain in various parts of the body. Pain can be felt in regions including the perineum, the distal rectum, the anus, as well as the vulva and the distal third of the vagina. Causes of pain passing through the ganglion impar can include cancers moving into the perineum, spinal cord abnormalities, and failed back surgery syndrome.

Treatments for problems with the nerve block include a procedure known as the ganglion impar block. This treatment requires a steroid to be injected into the region of the ganglion impar given under a local anesthetic. Results of the injection can include the failure of the steroid to have any effect on the pain to the almost instant relief from pain lasting from hours to weeks following the administering of the steroid.

Use of the ganglion impar block is often restricted by medications being used by the patient and/or conditions from which a possible recipient is suffering. Patients who are using blood thinners, such as aspirin, cannot receive a steroid injection in the region of the nerve block. Blood thinning medications should be discontinued around five to seven days before the procedure is to take place. Individuals suffering from active infections including high fevers, flu, and colds are not allowed to complete the procedure, nor are those suffering from high blood pressure.

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