Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block (SPGB)
This migraine relief procedure uses lidocaine to "reset" a nerve bundle, called the ganglion, at the back of the nasal passages. The ganglion is known to be involved in many migraines and cluster headaches. The SPGB procedure has proven to provide long term relief of many migraines and cluster headaches. The procedure is performed in our Imaging Department by Plains Radiology Services, P.C.
What to Expect
The SPGB procedure is done in our Imaging Department at Phelps Memorial. The nasal passages are numbed with a spray. Then, a small, flexible catheter is inserted into your nostrils (one side at a time) while lying flat on the back with the head tipped back. Special x-ray equipment is used to see that the catheter is in the right position to make sure the medication is placed in the ganglion area. Placement is verified by using a small amount of x-ray contrast with the catheter, followed by a small amount of lidocaine. The lidocaine is absorbed through the nasal passage tissues to "reset" the ganglion.
How to Prepare
- Remove earrings, necklaces and other jewelry above the shoulders.
- Avoid ponytails and hair accessories on the back of the head to avoid discomfort while laying on the back.
- Continue to take regular medications, including migraine medications.
- Eat a regular diet.
- Continue normal caffeine intake.
- Most patients will be able to resume normal activities within 15-20 minutes following the procedure.
How Effective is SPGB
If you are experiencing a migraine during the procedure, there may be immediate relief. If you do not have a migraine at the time, but normally experience them at regular intervals (2-3 times per week, with changes in weather, menstrual period, etc.) you may notice that you get through these times without suffering from a migraine.
The SPGB procedure has been found to be effective from a couple of weeks to over a year. It has also been shown to have a cumulative effect, where you may get longer relief each time you have the procedure done, up to a certain point. On average, patients may need to have the procedures repeated 3-4 times per year.