Please Find Below Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Stella
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The body’s fight-or-flight response turns on when we experience trauma. And sometimes it stays on long after the traumatic event, which can cause debilitating symptoms. This over-activation of the fight-or-flight response causes nerve growth in the amygdala (also known as the brain’s “fear center”). This nerve growth can prevent the fight-or-flight response from returning to a normal level.
The Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) is an injection of local anesthetic into the stellate ganglion – a bundle of nerves in the neck – that helps restore normal biological function and can efficiently relieve even the most severe trauma symptoms.
After researching and testing many ways of administering SGB, Dr. Eugene Lipov, Stella’s Chief Medical Officer, found that two injections – known as the “Dual Sympathetic Reset” – yield the best results.
Each Stella doctor is Board Certified and is personally trained by Dr. Lipov in Stella’s proprietary SGB methodology. We also require that our doctors use image guidance for correct needle placement.
The local anesthetics we use are Bupivacaine or Ropivacaine, both of which are FDA-approved. The local anesthetic temporarily “turns off” the stellate ganglion, which has been sending signals via nerve pathways to the amygdala, causing nerve growth. SGB can stop the nerve growth that is occurring as well as eliminate or prune the extra nerve fibers that have been created, thereby “resetting” the amygdala to its pre-trauma state. The entire procedure takes less than 20 minutes. Over 83% of Stella patients experience lasting relief from their trauma symptoms after one dual injection.
Ketamine is a safe, effective anesthetic that has been in use worldwide since 1970 and listed on the World Health Organization’s Essential Medicines list since 1985. Unlike standard antidepressants like SSRIs and SNRIs, which generally take 4 to 8 weeks to work (if they work at all), ketamine is fast-acting and can sometimes show immediate efficacy after a single intravenous dose.
Because of its fast-acting nature, ketamine can be an extremely valuable tool in preventing suicide and immediately alleviating the suffering caused by major depressive disorder (MDD). More recently, it has been used to treat PTSD symptoms and neuropathic pain.
Stella’s Ketamine treatment involves Ketamine being administered intravenously very slowly over 45 minutes by trained personnel under the direction of a Stella Board Certified Doctor.
You will be monitored throughout the infusion, and we are prepared to increase or decrease dosage in real time along with treat any unpleasant side effects during the procedure.
Generally, within 15 minutes of completing the infusion, you will start to regain your senses and your thinking will return to normal. Results are fast and effective - most have relief from symptoms in hours of treatment.
Treatment by Stella is a commitment to your recovery, from first contact to the moment you feel like yourself again. The Stella Standard of Care was created to meet your needs before, during, and after treatment. This is the new model of trauma treatment.
Before Your Procedure
Our Patient Care Team will review your symptoms and medical history to determine if you are a good candidate for SGB. To get started, let's chat 908-928-4086.
Once you qualify for Treatment by Stella and a treatment plan has been agreed upon, your Patient Care Coordinator will provide you with all of the procedure documentation via email. You will also receive access to Stella’s Patient Portal.
Multiple procedures (if desired) are included in the upfront costs.
Day of Your Procedure
If receiving SGB, the entire procedure takes less than 20 minutes, but please plan at being at the facility one to two hours. The positive effects of SGB are often immediate.
If receiving ketamine, each treatment typically takes 45 minutes. Please plan on being at the facility for one to two hours. Most have relief from symptoms in hours of treatment.
After Your Procedure
Our Patient Care Team will periodically follow up with you to ask you about any symptoms you may be experiencing. You will receive communication from Stella via text, email and phone call. You will also receive an opportunity to leave an anonymous review of your treatment two weeks after your treatment.
If you do not have a mental health care provider, Stella may be able to refer you to one.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us directly with any questions or concerns. If you did not receive a positive outcome from Treatment by Stella, please reach out to us right away.
At Stella, we believe in the transparency of treatment outcomes. While no medical procedure is guaranteed to work for everyone, the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) by Stella has helped thousands of patients find lasting relief from their trauma-related symptoms.
The PTSD Checklist (PCL) is a self-report survey used to measure PTSD symptoms. According to the National Center for PTSD Guidance, a 10-point decrease in PCL score is a clinically significant improvement. In a study of 327 Stella patients who received SGB between December 2016 and February 2020, on average, over 83% reported a 28.9-point decrease in their PCL score. These Stella patients experienced a result that’s almost three times better than that of other treatments. This data has been reviewed by an Institutional Review Board and submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for publication (acceptance pending).
Serious side effects of the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) are extremely rare (1 in 10,000) because we require that our doctors use image guidance for correct needle placement.
After SGB, patients temporarily experience various symptoms on the right side of the body including a droopy, bloodshot eye, warmth in the face and arm, and congestion. Usually, symptoms last 6-8 hours, but in some cases, they last up to 24 hours.
Nearly half of Stella patients experience hoarseness or trouble swallowing that resolves within 24 hours of the procedure.
The side effects of the low dose ketamine infusions are minimal and will usually only last about an hour or two and may include mild drowsiness, nausea, and increased blood pressure.
We monitor your vital signs throughout the infusion session and will routinely administer medication to prevent nausea. Less common side effects include vivid dreams or agitation, which can be controlled by adjusting the dosage.
Many patients do not mind the relaxed and free feeling they experience during the infusion, and this feeling has been postulated to be beneficial.
Yes, Stella has treated many patients suffering from C-PTSD with the Stellate Ganglion Block.
Yes, Stella has treated many patients who experience anxiety and depression.
For example, the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) can help reduce nervousness, hypervigilance, trouble sleeping, and trouble concentrating.
SGB is not recognized as a treatment for Psychotic Disorders (e.g., Schizophrenia), personality disorders (e.g., Borderline Personality Disorder), or Bipolar Disorder.
Because of Ketamine’s fast-acting nature, ketamine can be an extremely valuable tool in immediately alleviating the suffering caused by major depressive disorder (MDD) and preventing suicide. More recently, it has been used to treat PTSD symptoms and neuropathic pain.
At this time, insurance companies do not cover the Stellate Ganglion Block for mental health conditions and only cover SGB when it’s used for pain management and, unfortunately, insurance also does not cover ketamine infusions.
All of our patients are considered self-pay. To help make treatment affordable, Stella accepts Health Savings Account and Flexible Spending Accounts as payment options. We also provide interest-free financing plans for up to 6 months to qualifying patients through CareCredit. We also take major credit cards, HSA, and FSA plans.
Yes. Stella partners with CareCredit to provide interest-free financing plans for up to 6 months to qualifying patients. CareCredit is a healthcare credit card that offers promotional financing healthcare procedures. Our Patient Care Team can assist you with the application if you need it.
Is SGB FDA approved?
The Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) is only approved by the FDA as a pain management treatment. However, doctors can perform SGB for off-label uses like PTSD symptom relief.
The local anesthetics we use are Bupivacaine or Ropivacaine, both of which are FDA-approved.
Is Ketamine FDA approved?
Ketamine can be legally prescribed and administered “off-label” by licensed physicians. However, Ketamine is only FDA approved as an anesthetic and not as a treatment for depression.
By way of comparison, an estimated 30% of all medications are prescribed “off-label,” including many cancer drugs, and are frequently used by physicians even though they are not FDA approved for that particular purpose.
Widely considered the pioneer of the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) for PTSD, Dr. Eugene Lipov, Stella’s Chief Medical Officer, is a Board Certified anesthesiologist and pain management physician. 15 years ago, he discovered that SGB can “reset” the nervous system to its pre-trauma state.
SGB was originally developed as a single injection.
After researching and testing many ways of administering SGB for PTSD treatment, Dr. Lipov found that two injections – known as the “Dual Sympathetic Reset” – yield the best results. The injections are given back to back.
Each Stella doctor is Board Certified and is personally interviewed by Dr. Lipov. They are required to demonstrate appropriate competency in performing our proprietary SGB methodology. We also require that our doctors use image guidance for correct needle placement.
|SGB by Stella The "Dual Sympathetic Reset"||Traditional SGB|
|Physician||Board Certified medical doctor||CRNA, naturopathic practitioner,
Board Certified medical doctor, etc.
|Treatment Methodology||Strict and proven developed by Dr. Lipov –
over 80% of Stella patients report relief
|Methodology and outcomes vary|
|Injection Site(s)||C6 and C4 (or C3)||C6|
|Side of Neck||Right then left for right side
|Right side only|
|Sedation||Local plus (optional)
|Accessibility||40+ Treatment Centers nationwide||Single clinic|
|Financing Plans||6-month, interest-free financing through
CareCredit for qualifying patients; HSA and FSA
|Safety & Emergency Protocol||Created and enforced by Dr. Lipov||Varies based on available clinical leadership|
|Medical Escalations||Reviewed and advised on by Dr. Lipov
and clinical oversight from treating physician
|Varies based on available clinical leadership|
Our Patient Care Team will review your symptoms and medical history to determine if you are a good candidate for the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) or Ketamine Infusion Therapy.
We will discuss any health conditions that you have to ensure that they do not interfere with SGB or Ketamine’s ability to provide relief from your symptoms. Call 908-928-4086 to get started.
No, there is no evidence that Ketamine infusion at the low doses and frequency used to treat mood disorders leads to dependence or addiction. Research that suggests ketamine can be an effective treatment for overcoming addiction. If you have a history of substance abuse, it does not exclude you from receiving ketamine infusions, but it is important to disclose this information during your assessment.
While a mental health provider is not required, we strongly recommend that you have one to work with after your Stellate Ganglion Block. If you do not have a mental health care provider, Stella may be able to refer you to one.
On average, our patients schedule their Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) for two to three weeks after their free consultation.
Our Patient Care Team will review your symptoms and medical history to determine if you are a good candidate for SGB. Call 908-928-4086 to get started.
Our Patient Care Team will review your symptoms and medical history to determine if you are a good candidate for the Stellate Ganglion Block. Schedule your free consultation today to get started. Call 908-928-4086 to get started.
All calls are completely confidential. We will never ask you to share anything that you are uncomfortable discussing.
You can also reach our Patient Care Team directly at care@StellaCenter.com