Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block
FAQs on Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block in Phoenix AZ
The sphenopalatine ganglion is a bundle of nerves that supply the face and head. The sphenopalatine ganglion block is a minor procedure used to treat various headache syndromes and facial pain conditions.
Where is the sphenopalatine ganglion located?
The sphenopalatine ganglion is located next to the jaw behind the nose. It is accessed through the nostril. These nerves are involved in various forms of facial and head pain.
What disorders and conditions does the block treat?
The sphenopalatine ganglion block is used to treat various conditions of the head and face. These include:
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Migraine pain
- Atypical facial pain
- Herpes zoster pain
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
- Neck and head pain
- Sluder’s neuralgia
- Paroxysmal hemicranias
How do I prepare for the sphenopalatine ganglion block?
Make sure you have someone to drive you home, as you are not permitted to drive for 24 hours after the procedure. This is an outpatient procedure, so do not bring any personal belongings with you. You are allowed to take your usual medications the day of the procedure. Before the procedure, you should report certain things to the pain specialist. These include:
- Pregnancy – Since x-ray equipment and medications are used during the procedure, women who are pregnant cannot have this block
- Infection – If you have a fever or feel ill on the day of the procedure, you should notify the pain management specialist.
- Allergies – You must make the medical staff aware of all your allergies, such as iodine, latex, medications, contrast dye, and bandage material.
- Medications – Certain blood-thinning drugs must be held for a few days prior to the procedure, so notify the doctor of all medicines you are taking.
How is the sphenopalatine ganglion block performed?
After you have signed the informed consent paper, you are to change into a gown. You are positioned in a seated position, and blood pressure and oxygen monitors are attached to your arm and finger respectively. The nurse places an IV catheter in your arm, and a cotton swab with anesthetic is inserted into one nostril. After the area is numb, the small catheter is positioned through the nostril near the nerves, which is done using x-ray guidance. The long-acting anesthetic is instilled onto the nerves. If radiofrequency energy is used, small electric current is used to destroy the nerves.
What happens after the procedure?
You may experience some mild pain after the procedure, but this resolves in a few hours. Soreness is expected, but it is temporary and gradually disappears. Pain relief can last for 2-6 months, depending on the patient. After being monitored in the recovery area, you are permitted to leave. You should rest for the remainder of the day, and return to activities as tolerated the following day.
What are the side effects and dangers of the sphenopalatine ganglion block?
The sphenopalatine ganglion block is a minimally invasive procedure, so there are a few risks associated with it. These include bleeding of the nose, blood vessel injury, nerve damage, and infection. Because a mild sedative may be used, side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and slurred speech.
Does the sphenopalatine ganglion block work?
According to one clinical study using this block to treat cancer-related head pain, the efficacy rate was 88%. In addition, a six-year long study of the block found it to be 60% effective for the treatment of cluster headache.