When funds allow Operation First Response will cover the cost of the Stellate Ganglion Block for Active Duty Military, Veterans and First Responders at The Stellate Institute in Annapolis, MD. Please consider donating to ensure that those that cannot afford this treatment will have the option to receive it.

What is Stellate Ganglion Block?

The stellate ganglion block (SGB) is a procedure in which an injection of a long-acting local anesthetic, using ultrasound guidance, is made in the side of the neck around the main nerve that controls the “fight or flight” response (the sympathetic nervous system). This nerve, (the cervical sympathetic chain) which is a two-way conduit, connects the parts of the brain that control the fight or flight response (referred to as the central autonomic network) to the rest of the body. By blocking or “turning off” the traffic in the cervical sympathetic chain, it is believed that the parts of the brain that control the fight or flight response are allowed to completely reset, resulting in long-term relief of the associated anxiety symptoms. Multiple peer-reviewed medical studies show that SGB results in significant long-term improvement in chronic anxiety symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI). The SGB takes less than 15 minutes to perform, and benefits are seen in as little as 30 minutes.

(Although the term PTSD is more commonly used, Dr. Mulvaney and Dr. Lynch feel that the term post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI) is medically more accurate. After all, an injury is something you can recover from.)

The Stellate Institute

Dr. Sean Mulvaney and Dr. James Lynch pioneered the use of stellate ganglion block (SGB) for PTSD when they served together in the military.

In March 2021, Dr. Lynch joined Dr. Mulvaney to form The Stellate Institute in Annapolis.  They will continue their mission of advancing innovations in the treatment of trauma and of providing world-class care to their patients.

Meet Sean Mulvaney, M.D.

As an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Dr. Mulvaney is board-certified in Sports Medicine and Pain Medicine. He is the co-founder of The Stellate Institute. During his 31-year military career, Dr. Mulvaney served our nation’s Special Operations community as both a US Navy SEAL officer and a US Army physician.

In 2008, he became the first Department of Defense physician to be credentialed in regenerative medicine techniques such as platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapy for the repair of musculoskeletal and spine injuries. Dr. Mulvaney is an internationally recognized leader in the use of SGB for PTSD. He was the first to use Stellate Ganglion Block to treat combat-related PTSI and has published in this field of research for over 10 years. He is internationally known as an educator of other physicians and has pioneered and extensively published on ultrasound-guided techniques.

As the Chief Science Officer and a staff physician with Regenerative Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Annapolis, Maryland, (home of The Stellate Institute) Dr. Mulvaney focuses on the repair of musculoskeletal, nerve and spine injuries using regenerative medicine techniques with ultrasound and fluoroscopic guidance.

Why should Dr. Mulvaney perform my SGB?

Simply put, he is the best and most experienced physician in the world at successfully using SGB to treat PTSI. Since 2009, Dr. Mulvaney has safely completed thousands of ultrasound-guided SGBs to treat PTSI in military and civilian patients.

After compassionately treating thousands of patients with PTSD, his insights into patients suffering with PTSD allow him to use the therapeutic window created by the SGB to significantly augment the benefits of the procedure alone.

As a US Navy SEAL and a physician, he has seen the long-lasting pain that post-traumatic stress injury causes to individuals and families. He is sincerely invested in your recovery and will monitor your progress long after the procedure is done.

Dr. Mulvaney has 10 peer-reviewed medical publications (6 original studies) on this topic and has been the invited speaker at more than 10 international/national-level lectures on SGB for PTSI. He has taught hundreds of physicians neck sonographic anatomy and the SGB technique.

As a fellowship-trained and board-certified interventional pain physician, he is also proficient in fluoroscopically (x-ray) guided SGBs, but he strongly feels that the fluoroscope method is more painful, less accurate and unnecessarily exposes patients to ionizing radiation.

Meet James Lynch, M.D.

Dr. Jim Lynch is a primary care sports medicine physician who co-founded The Stellate Institute after serving 31 years in Army medicine. He is board-certified in Family Medicine and Sports Medicine and has extensive experience treating those suffering from the effects of trauma. Along with Dr. Mulvaney, Dr. Lynch was a pioneer in the world of PTSD treatment using stellate ganglion block to help heal hundreds of patients since 2011. He has published multiple articles in the medical literature on SGB, presented his research in international forums in Germany, Australia, and Portugal, and has served as a staunch advocate for improving PTSD treatment options.

Additionally, Dr. Lynch is a U.S. Olympic Team Physician and has supported USA Swimming since 2011. Skilled in both physical and mental health issues, Dr. Lynch has supported elite Olympians in international competitions including multiple World Championships and both the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. Dr. Lynch earned a BS in Psychology from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1989, an MS in healthcare improvement from Dartmouth College in 2001, and his medical degree from Brown Medical School in 2003.

He is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, an Adjunct Assistant Professor at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an Adjunct Instructor at the University College Cork, Ireland. Dr. Lynch lives in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife Jodi of 29 years.

30 Years of Leadership Experience In Complex Medical Organizations

I lead by example. I value relationships.  When in charge, I provide vision, intent, and purpose.  ​​During my years of collaborating 

on global health initiatives, I have developed meaningful partnerships with numerous medical experts worldwide.  I am an international influencer in the fields of special operations medicine and military medicine. My graduate training from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice has fueled my passion for continuously improving patient-centered systems.  As a Physician-Leader for more than a decade, I have developed systematic improvements that produced significant results.–Dr. James Lynch, MD, Colonel (ret), Co-Founder, The Stellate Institute

To receive more information or schedule an appointment please visit their website

The Stellate Institute

“OFR has been absolutely invaluable to countless veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress who would not have benefitted from the dramatic healing that is possible from the stellate ganglion block (SGB) procedure.  This life-changing procedure is not available at most VAs across the country.  The Stellate Institute physicians in Annapolis, MD pioneered the use of SGB for PTSD in the US military over 12 years ago.  As international leaders in SGB, their expertise can be accessible to veterans at no cost with the generous donations from OFR.  This generosity simply saves lives, and for that, we are eternally grateful to Operation First Response.”

Dr. James Lynch, MD, Colonel (ret), Co-Founder, The Stellate Institute

Testimony from SGB Recipient’s Wife

I am JC’s wife and I wanted to reach out to you and express our sincere gratitude.  Just recently, you assisted in coordinating with us and Dr. Mulvaney at the Regenerative Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Office in Annapolis, MD.  I have the email chain below to help identify us for you.
I wanted to make sure you knew that your organization’s covering of the procedure for my husband was meaningful and truly appreciated.  You may or may not know, but my husband is a Veteran (4 years active duty) and a Law Enforcement Officer since he got out of active duty in 1997.  The procedure he had done was to help combat PTSD and the symptoms he deals with regularly.  For your organization to cover the expense for us to have this done, was an incredible gift.  It has been a struggle to find relief and to find something affordable is even more difficult.  I wanted to share a little bit more about our story to hopefully convey just how much you and Operation First Response matter.
This is an excerpt from your website: 
What we do not see are the struggles faced by those with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD.  These invisible injuries, if gone untreated, can take a devastating toll on our Heroes and their families.  This can be seen daily in the rise in the suicide rate among our Heroes.  In many cases, these suicides can be directly attributed to the inability to care for his/her family.
These invisible injuries…That is exactly what we are dealing with so often in the Law Enforcement Community.  To see that your organization understands actually made me pause – because at times the Thin Blue Line feels so incredibly thin.  “J” has seen his share of terrible things… from witnessing a horrific accident at Pope Air Force Base way back when he was active duty, to the numerous and countless calls while serving the public as a law enforcement officer, SWAT officer, Fugitive Apprehension Team detective and I could go on.  As a wife (of now 27 years) it is so very hard to watch your husband and father to your children try to battle these “injuries” alone, knowing that you cannot do much to provide relief.  That said, in addition to his own experiences, “J” has been instrumental in establishing a Peer Support Program at the Sheriff’s Office.  He works tirelessly to help his brothers and sisters in Blue work through their trauma and find some sense of good, sense of purpose and value.  He is hopeful that this latest procedure for him, will be yet another arrow in the quiver to share with others that might be looking for relief.  So thank you for being instrumental in that.
“JC”‘s wife

We cannot offer financial aid for this life-changing procedure without your help. Please consider donating through this specific PayPal Button tagged only for the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB).