If the pain doctor elects to perform the SPG block with an injection, the cheek will be numbed and the approach is made through the soft tissues using fluoroscopy (real time x-ray machine). Once the needle reaches the area around the SPG, numbing medicine is injected.
If the procedure provides excellent pain relief, it can be repeated every month or so, or the person can end up receiving an SPG radiofrequency ablation.
How well does a sphenopalatine nerve block procedure work?
Multiple studies have looked at the effectiveness of SPG blocks. Consistently, it has been shown to be an excellent procedure for acute and chronic facial and head pain. In 2009, Narouze et al showed that SPG radiofrequency ablation had very high satisfactory results for those with cluster headaches.
Additional studies looking at SPG blocks for head and neck cancer pain (Varghese et al), along with another study looking at SPG for chronic vasomotor rhinitis (Quevedo et al) showed the injections work really well for both. The pain relief was profound and patients needed much less narcotic medication.
In addition to the conditions mentioned, there is new research coming out frequently showing the benefits of SPG for the above indicated conditions. If you are experiencing any condition causing chronic headaches or facial pain, contact Arizona Pain Specialists for assistance.
What are the risks of an SPG block?
The risks of sphenopalatine ganglion nerve blocks are very low. With the topical procedure, patients may sustain a bitter taste in the mouth from dripping of the numbing agent down the oropharynx.
Injections maintain a slight risk of infection, along with a slight risk of a nose bleed or temporary lightheadedness.
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