A Novel Somatic Treatment for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report of Hydrodissection of the Cervical Plexus Using 5% Dextrose

K. Dean Reeves, Jessica Shaw, Rebekah McAdam, King Hei Stanley Lam, Sean W. Mulvaney, David Rabago

Cureus 14(4): e23909.


Despite years of standard treatments, a Marine veteran and former firefighter, disabled due to severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), worsened over ten weeks while receiving usual care. Bilateral injection of 10 mL of 5% dextrose in water using a 30-gauge needle just under the sternocleidomastoid muscle was performed at weeks 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18. Clinically important improvements were observed by 18 weeks on a 0-10 anxiety rating scale (57%), the PTSD checklist for civilians (41%), EuroQol overall quality of life scale (40%), and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (28%). Improvements were stable through 22 weeks. He reported symptomatic benefit on anxiety within 20 minutes of injection, suggesting a neurogenic mechanism, potentially related to a therapeutic effect on the nearby sympathetic trunk/superior sympathetic ganglion. Advantages of this procedure over stellate ganglion blockade include its safety (no lidocaine), bilateral treatment option, simplicity, and comfort.

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