Most Commonly Asked Questions about Stella's advanced DSR SGB
If you've experienced symptoms of emotional trauma and mental health challenges, you've most likely come across talk therapy and medication – two of the most common interventions – in your research. Many people gravitate toward these treatments because they are currently the most well-known and covered by most insurance companies.
It's normal to be skeptical when learning new information, especially about something complex like mental health care. While many innovative and minimally invasive procedures can provide almost instant relief, they aren't the first line of defense. Our bilateral Dual Sympathetic Reset (DSR), our advanced Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) protocol, is a fast and effective treatment but many are just finding out about it now.
Stella's bilateral DSR SGB is a safe and efficient way to relieve conditions and symptoms like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. As such, it has made waves in mental health care and challenged the traditional care model. As this life-changing treatment gains awareness, education is a crucial step in addressing the questions and concerns of those looking for the right care.
This article covers the seven most commonly asked questions about bilateral DSR SGB.
1. Is Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) proven to work?
Stellate Ganglion Blocks (SGB) are most commonly used to treat pain conditions. At Stella, we offer an advanced version for mental health called the Dual Sympathetic Reset. While no medical procedure is guaranteed to work for everyone, we believe in the transparency of treatment outcomes. Our bilateral Dual Sympathetic Reset (DSR) protocol 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 Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) between December 2016 and February 2020, on average, over 81% 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.
2. How long do the positive effects of Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) last?
Over 81% of Stella patients experience lasting relief from their trauma symptoms after one Dual Sympathetic Reset (DSR) procedure.
The duration of the DSR's positive effects varies from patient to patient, lasting months or years. While the longevity of DSR's effectiveness is still being researched, in a 2014 study, 70% of participants were clinical successes at a follow-up administered between 3 and 6 months after treatment.
3. Will DSR Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) erase my memory or impair my survival instinct?
No. The Dual Sympathetic Reset (DSR) does not erase your memory. After treatment, many patients report that their memory is clearer.
DSR does not compromise your survival instincts because it does not "turn off" your fight-or-flight response. When your fight-or-flight response is stuck in an overactive state, your body is constantly experiencing a high level of stress which can be due to an imaginary threat. For example, it can feel like you're being chased by an imaginary bear. DSR does not take your ability to run away from the bear. Instead, it removes the imaginary bear. Should a real bear appear, you will still instinctually run away from it.
4. How is Stella's bilateral Dual Sympathetic Reset (DSR) protocol different from the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) that other providers offer?
Stellate Ganglion Blocks have been around since the 1920s and are most widely known as an FDA-approved treatment for pain management. Stella's advanced SGB protocol treats the symptoms of mental health challenges, not pain.
Widely considered the pioneer of the Dual Sympathetic Reset (DSR) 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 Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) can "reset" the nervous system to its pre-trauma state. SGB was originally developed as a single injection of local anesthetic near a cluster of nerves in the neck. After researching and testing many ways of administering SGB for the treatment of PTSD symptoms, Dr. Lipov found that two injections on one side of the neck – known as the "Dual Sympathetic Reset" – yield the best results. The injections on one side of the neck are made back to back during one procedure. Stella patients receive bilateral DSR, meaning one set of injections on the right side of the neck and the other set on the left in the following days. Bilateral DSR gives patients the greatest opportunity for meaningful and lasting symptom relief.
Each Stella doctor is board-certified and is personally trained in Dr. Lipov's DSR SGB methodology. We also require that our doctors use image guidance for correct needle placement.
5. Have the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) or the Dual Sympathetic Reset (DSR) been clinically studied?
Yes, there are numerous clinical studies about the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) and the Dual Sympathetic Reset (DSR).
A 2020 study explores the effectiveness of single and dual-injection SGB. While both methods are effective, the study proposes that dual-injection SGB, also known as the Dual Sympathetic Reset (DSR) may be more effective than a single SGB in the treatment of PTSD.
Mulvaney S. W., Curtis K. E., Ibrahim T. S. (2020) Comparison C6 Stellate Ganglion versus C6 and C4 Cervical Sympathetic Chain Blocks for Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Analysis of 147 Patients. J Neurol Disord Stroke 7(3): 1163.
A multisite, randomized clinical trial of SGB outcomes on PTSD symptoms, reports an improvement in the PTSD symptoms of active-duty service members after two SGB procedures. On average, the group treated with SGB experienced a 12.6-point decrease in their Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-5) score, and the control group experienced a 6.1-point decrease in their CAPS-5 score.
Olmsted, K. L. R., Bartoszek, M., Mulvaney, S., McLean, B., Turabi, A., Young, R., … & Walters, B. B. (2020). Effect of stellate ganglion block treatment on posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA psychiatry, 77(2), 130-138.
This review of recent and historical SGB literature finds evidence of substantial beneficial psychiatric effects that support the use of SGB as a PTSD treatment that may provide positive results and reduce barriers to therapy, particularly among military populations.
Co-authored by Dr. Eugene Lipov, Stella's Chief Medical Officer, this study reviews the clinical evidence and neurobiology of SGB for PTSD treatment.
Lipov, E., & Kelzenberg, B. (2012). Sympathetic system modulation to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): a review of clinical evidence and neurobiology. Journal of affective disorders, 142(1-3), 1-5.
6. How does the Dual Sympathetic Reset (DSR) work with other types of treatments?
The Dual Sympathetic Reset (DSR) works well in combination with other treatments. After DSR, many Stella patients feel a new sense of calm that can accelerate the positive impact of existing therapies – think talk therapy, EMDR, CBT, or DBT. For example, patients may find that they can recall their past and discuss it with their mental health provider without feeling as though they're reliving it.
Stella offers Integration Therapy to support those receiving DSR SGB treatment. Our program involves short-term sessions in between treatments within a 30-day timeframe to maximize your outcomes.
Integration Therapy at Stella does not replace traditional talk therapy. If you already have a mental health provider, we suggest that you continue working with them after DSR SGB to further your healing. If you do not have a mental health care provider, Stella may be able to refer you to one.
7. What's included with Stella Dual Sympathetic Reset (DSR) Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) treatment?
We're committed 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 care.
Getting To Know You
The first step is to speak with a licensed Advanced Practice Provider (APP). The APP will conduct a Medical and Biopsychosocial Assessment, including a robust review of your symptoms and health history. Your APP will make a custom treatment recommendation for you using this information.
Our APPs use validated measures to gauge your symptoms. These measures include the Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL-5) for symptoms of PTSD/ emotional trauma, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) for anxiety, the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) for depression, and the Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory (NSI) for traumatic brain injury.
Throughout your healing journey with Stella, you'll be supported by a dedicated Care Coordinator. They will schedule your appointments, prepare for treatment day, loop in your existing care team, and help answer questions along the way.
Both our Dual Sympathetic Reset (DSR) and Ketamine Infusions are administered in a clinic by highly trained physicians and medical personnel.
After treatment, Stella offers Integration Therapy. These are built to optimize healing and growth by making meaning of treatment and creating individualized action plans that turn insights into growth.
The day after treatment, your APP will call to review the procedure's effectiveness and ask about any changes in the symptoms you were experiencing before treatment.
About a week after treatment, patients have a 30-minute telehealth appointment with their APP during which they can check in on their progress and discuss the next steps of their treatment path.
We're here for you
Fast and effective treatments for symptoms of emotional trauma and mental health challenges is available. We've helped thousands of people in need find relief. A Care Advocate can help you understand how our treatment protocols – like bilateral Dual Sympathetic Reset (DSR) Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) – work and if they're a good fit for you.
If you are interested in learning more, please contact our Care Advocate team directly by calling 908-293-7559.