Accessibility Tools

What is Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block?

A sphenopalatine ganglion block is a minimally invasive procedure employed for the diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of headaches and facial pain.

Sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) is a collection of nerves located right behind the nose and function by transmitting pain signals from the face and head to the brain.

During a sphenopalatine ganglion block procedure, a local anesthetic or numbing medication is administered to the sphenopalatine ganglion to temporarily block the function of the SPG, thereby relieving headache disorders and facial pain.

Indications for Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block

Sphenopalatine ganglion block is a multifaceted pain management procedure that can be indicated to treat various pain conditions such as:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Cluster headaches
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Sphenopalatine neuralgia
  • Craniofacial pain
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
  • Paroxysmal hemicrania
  • Cancer pain of the head and neck
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain syndrome
  • Sluder’s neuralgia
  • Mouth and tongue pain
  • Herpes zoster pain

Preparation for Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block

No special instructions are necessary.

Procedure for Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block

The procedure is commonly performed through an intranasal approach in an exam room by your physician and involves the placement of a catheter through the nose to administer numbing medicine or anesthetic. A decongestant may be used if required prior to the procedure in order to help decrease irritation in the nose. In general, the procedure involves the following steps:

  • You will lie on your back on a table with your head extended.
  • Your physician will then carefully insert a catheter device into one nostril and gently advance the catheter close to the sphenopalatine ganglion.
  • Anesthetic (bupivacaine or lidocaine) is administered through the syringe into the sphenopalatine ganglion and the catheter is withdrawn.
  • The same process is repeated in the other nostril and the whole procedure takes about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • After the procedure is over, you will be asked to lie down for 10 to 15 minutes to maximize the benefit.

Post-procedure Care

Post-procedure care and instructions include:

  • Do not eat or drink for at least 2 hours.
  • Avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours.
  • Arrange for someone to drive you home.
  • Schedule a follow-up visit to monitor your progress.

Risks and Complications

Risks and complications may include:

  • Numbness
  • Nasal bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Infection
  • Lightheadedness
  • Bad taste in the mouth