The sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) is a cluster of nerve cells located behind the nose. The SPG is linked to the trigeminal nerve, which is involved in most headaches. Sphenopalatine ganglion block is an outpatient procedure that can temporarily relieve some types of head and facial pain. People with chronic migraine may benefit from sphenopalatine ganglion block.
What does it involve?
Sphenopalatine ganglion block is an outpatient procedure. During a sphenopalatine ganglion block, a doctor will place numbing medication into the sphenopalatine ganglion.
Before receiving a sphenopalatine ganglion block, you may receive local anesthetic in or around your nose. An older technique for performing sphenopalatine ganglion block involves injecting the numbing medication through the cheek using a needle, with an x-ray machine helping to guide the placement of the injection. However, most sphenopalatine ganglion blocks are now performed using a catheter, or very small, thin tube, inserted into each nostril. You may lie down or sit up for the sphenopalatine ganglion block, depending on which device your doctor uses.
The procedure itself lasts only a few seconds. When the numbing medication is delivered into the back of your nose, you may feel a change in temperature, a brief burning sensation, or experience a bad taste in your mouth. These sensations will last only a few seconds. You may experience pain relief immediately, or it may take minutes or hours to take effect.
You may be asked to lie down for 15 minutes following the sphenopalatine ganglion block procedure. Some clinics may allow you to drive yourself home, while others may require that you ride with someone else.
A study on one sphenopalatine ganglion block device showed reduced severity and frequency of chronic migraines for six months after receiving 12 procedures – two each week for six weeks.
Sphenopalatine ganglion block may not be successful at reducing pain.
Migraine relief from a sphenopalatine ganglion block is temporary.
Some health insurance plans may not cover all or any of the cost of sphenopalatine ganglion block.
Common side effects of sphenopalatine ganglion block include low blood pressure, nausea, and numbness in the throat. In rare cases, infection or nasal bleeding may occur.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Sphenopalatine ganglion blocks in headache disorders – American Migraine Foundaiton