The procedure is called the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB)
The Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) is the first truly biologic approach to PTSD/PTSI. SGB is an old procedure that has been used for pain treatment since1925. It takes only 10 minutes to perform and is believed to reverse neurological changes induced by severe trauma that leads to PTSD/PTSI symptoms.
The SGB procedure involves the injection of a local anesthetic, typically under x-ray guidance, into a nerve bundle called the stellate ganglion, located between the C6 and C7 vertebrae. It is considered to carry minimal risk, and usually offers rapid (30 minutes) and enduring (month to years) relief.
The procedure does not require the patient to describe the nature of the injury, which is especially beneficial for those suffering from MST. It is administered by a non-psychiatric doctor, less stigmatizing, and has a marked impact.
SGB basically “reboots the brain” to the pre-trauma state. The success rate is now over 70%. Effects are seen in 20 minutes, and can last months or years. To date, over 2,200 military personnel have been successfully treated with SGB in 7 military hospitals.
LEARN MORE Six doctors presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists validating the effectiveness of SGB in treating PTSD/PTSI through visible evidence seen on Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans.
Too many Veterans are suffering too long from PTSD/PTSI
It is estimated over 2 million soldiers have PTSD/PTSI (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder/Post-Traumatic Stress Injury).
The current standard of care for PTSD/PTSI in both civilian and military populations involves one or more pharmacological therapies, psychotherapies such as cognitive processing therapy (CPT), and/or prolonged exposure (PE) therapy. The long duration of time required to obtain beneficial results from current therapies and the stigma that surrounds mental health care in military populations are major barriers that hinder treatment-seeking behavior.
Currently, the Veterans Administration (VA) and Department of Defense (DOD) utilize this standard of care, often called the “gold, validated standard” for PTSD treatment. However, the “gold standard” efficacy is under 30%1. Additionally, the persistent use of it may lead to the following effects.
- An extreme suicide rate (over 8,000 per year)
- Broken soldiers and families
- A marked financial burden of $35,000 per year, per patient, as well as a projected $600 billion payout for disability payments over the next 20 years (Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize Laureate 2008)
5,240 military sexual assaults were reported in 2016
An estimated 77% of service member sexual assaults go unreported,2 with a majority of these women diagnosed with PTSD/PTSI.
Military Sexual Trauma (MST) refers to sexual assault, threatening sexual harassment, rape, or any sexual activity in which someone is involved against their will. The VHA has implemented universal screening for MST, and provides medical and mental health services free of charge to enrolled veterans who report MST.
A majority of female veterans who indicated being sexually assaulted during their military service met the criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD/PTSI.5 Only 14% of the women reported actually seeking help or treatment immediately after their assault. However, over 75% reported receiving mental health counseling within the past year, or years, after assault.6
- Often report a loss of professional and personal identity
- Are afraid to report MST because of stigma3 and worry about career impact & retribution, or a belief that their victimization will be minimized
- Are at increased risk of re-traumatization through blame, misdiagnosis and being questioned about the validity of their experience4
- Are at increased risk of retaliation through the process of getting help
- Have an increased risk of suicide7
The fallout from military sexual assaults cost the U.S. $3.6 billion in 2013 alone, according to RAND Corporation, an international research organization focusing on public policy, military and national security issues. The estimate is based on a calculation of the cost of medical and mental health services victims are likely to seek after an incident, as well as other “intangible costs”.6
The first biologic approach to PTSD/PTSI is being ignored
A promising technique to fight PTSD/PTSI continues to be ignored following multiple attempts at funding for medical studies and insurance coverage. Meanwhile, military personnel looking to be treated using this approach are not able to receive this life-changing treatment. This is why we are asking for your help—we must do better in helping our Veterans access and afford this viable medical option for PTSD/PTSI.
PODCAST: Joe Crane, Veteran on the Move, and Dr. Lipov discuss PTSD and SGB
The Doctor Behind the Procedure
Dr. Eugene Lipov
Eugene G. Lipov M.D. is a world-renowned anesthesiologist specializing in pain management. He was the first in the world to report on new effective treatments for treating PTSD/PTSI utilizing Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB). He founded Chicago Medical Innovations as a 501c3 nonprofit organization to promote, research and treat PTSD using the patented SGB “Chicago Block”.
Dr. Lipov also serves as the Chief Science Officer of the Global PTSI Foundation, and created Healing Hero to provide a single-source education and funding opportunity for individuals and corporations to assist Veterans struggling with PTSD/PTSI. He first discussed the Stellate Ganglion Block in front of Congress in 2010, and has published numerous medical papers on the use of SGB for PTSD/PTSI.
Dr. Eugene Lipov testifies before the House Veterans Affairs Committee on July 21, 2010
1 Hoge CW (2011) Interventions for war-related post-traumatic stress disorder: meeting veterans where they are. JAMA 306: 549-551
2 Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military Fiscal Year 2015 (2016) http://www.sapr.mil/public/docs/reports/FY15_Annual/FY15_Annual_Report_on_Sexual_Assault_in_the_Military.pdf
3 Greene-Shortride, T.M., Britt, T.W., & Castro, C.A. (200&). The stigma of mental health problems in the military. Military Medicine, 172(2), 157-161
4 Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military Fiscal Year 2015 (2016). Retrieved from http://www.sapr.mil/public/docs/reports/FY15_Annual/FY15_Annual_Report_on_Sexual_Assault_in_the_Military.pdf
5 “Sexual Trauma in the Military: Exploring PTSD and Mental Health Care utilization in Female Veterans” (PDF, 58KB) by Sara Kintzie, PhD, University of Southern California, et al. Sara Kintzle (213) 821-3605
7 Kimerling, Rachel, et al “Military Sexual Trauma and Suicide Mortality.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 50.6 (2016) 684-691
Valente, S. & Wright, C. (2007) Military Sexual Trauma: Violence and Sexual Abuse. Military Medicine, 172 (3), 259-265