The SphenoCath® Procedure

A woman suffers from a migraine

Migraines are more than just a headache

The sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) is a collection of nerve cells located under the tissue lining the back of the nose that control face and head pain. Nerve impulses can be temporarily blocked, providing pain relief, by applying a local anesthetic to the bundle of nerves. This procedure is called a sphenopalatine ganglion block.

The SphenoCath® is a device designed specifically for administering a sphenopalatine ganglion block for immediate relief of headache pain, craniofacial pain, facial pain, migraines, or trigeminal neuralgia. Nearly two thirds of patients discontinue migraine or headache prescription medication because of inadequate pain relief or side effects, and other than medication there is currently very little to offer chronic headache patients. With the SphenoCath®, patients experience almost immediate pain relief with a simple, gentle, and comfortable in-office procedure.

The SphenoCath® device effectively delivers anesthetic to the SPG block through the nasal cavity without the use of needles or harsh medicine. In the past, this procedure was done by leaving a cotton tipped applicator in the nasal cavity for 20-40 minutes, and was very inaccurate as well as uncomfortable. The SphenoCath® device transformed the procedure into a quick and effective solution for pain relief. Most patients report the SphenoCath® device is comfortable, but some patients may feel a brief nasal irritation. A SPG block procedure using the SphenoCath® is both low-risk and effective in patients of all ages, as well as pregnant women.

The device is a small, soft catheter specifically designed for insertion into a patient’s nose. During the procedure, the patient lays in a flat or reclined position, slightly propped up with a pillow under the shoulders. The doctor inserts the catheter into the nasal passage using fluoroscopic guidance. Medication inside the device is delivered to the mucus over the sphenopalatine ganglion, effectively administering a SPG block for migraine or headache pain.

The administration of the anesthetic takes 2-3 minutes, and it is recommended the patient remains in the procedural position (on his back) for 6-8 minutes after the SPG block is delivered, for optimal results. The procedure, as a whole, can take as little as 15 minutes to provide pain relief.

The success rate for the SPG block procedure is 94%, which is impressive for any medical procedure. Because of its effectiveness, patients can expect pain relief for most types of headache pain with long-lasting relief. Medicare and most insurance companies cover the cost of the procedure. Over time, the procedure may replace the need for migraine narcotics, and the procedure is about equal to the cost of one month’s worth of migraine medication. Average patients may need 3-4 treatments in the first year, with effects projected to last longer between each treatment. Risks of using the SphenoCath® include nasal cavity irritation, nosebleeds, or mild pain.

If you, or a loved one, suffer from chronic migraines, craniofacial pain, facial pain, trigeminal neuralgia or headaches, ask your physician for a referral to East Carolina Pain Consultants. Then, we can accurately discuss pain levels and past management techniques to decide if a SPG block using the SphenoCath® is right for you.

Source: SphenoCath®


The Sphenocath® Procedure brochureDownload literature on the SphenoCath® Procedure

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