LUBBOCK, Texas – Dr. Michel Oliva performs a treatment called stellate ganglion block that has shown promising results for the sensory receptors in patients that’s improved a person’s sense of taste and smell.

Toni Jennings said she caught COVID at the end of 2020. Soon after she recovered, Jennings said her sense of taste and smell was never the same afterward. 

“Everything started smelling bad,” Jennings said. “I think I first noticed it when I was cooking meat, and I thought the meat had gone rotten. So, I threw it out, and I got a new package out, cooked, it smelled the same. Everybody else said it smelled fine … But then I noticed it was all meat, coffee, peanut butter and eggs. Then it would be things in the environment like grass and dairies, oil fields, laundry, soap shampoo, and it all had the same, like rotten flesh smell.” 

Dr. Oliva said the injection of the local anesthetic has been used for years to treat or temporarily relieve pain in patients. For the last few months, medical experts have found it’s also proven to be even more multifunctional. 

“It has been around since the 1930s,” Dr. Oliva. “I’ve done this since 1993 when I was in residency, so I’ve been in it for the last 30 years to treat chronic pain. It’s an old procedure, but we’re using it as a new treatment … For a new post COVID, Patients are developing this kind of abnormal smell. It’s a treatment that’s being used all around the country, and we’ve had about a 90% success rate. And so, it’s worked very well.” 

The procedure only takes a couple of minutes to perform. It’s considered a non-invasive procedure that has already made a world of difference for patients like Kaci Dugger. She has gone the last few months with her sense of smell, and she said that undergoing the treatment was a matter of safety.

“I could taste, but it was just, and I didn’t even realize how dull my taste was until I had the procedure,” Dugger said. “You think about it, and it could be kind of scary. What if you can’t smell smoke or gas? We need our senses.”

To learn more about the procedure or questions about other treatments Dr. Oliva offers, call (806)791-3377 or email