Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block

What is a Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block?

The Sphenopalatine ganglion is made up of a large number of nerves which relay various messages from the face, head and neck to the brain. Pain messages from these areas are sent along these nerves to the brain where the pain is interpreted. In the past, a sphenopalatine block involved the insertion of cotton buds soaked in a local anesthetic into the nose. Currently, a small silicone catheter is injected into the area of the sphenopalatine ganglion. The medication blocks pain messages thereby reducing the pain. The block is usually temporary but the benefit can sometimes be prolonged. If you are female please tell your provider if you are pregnant to ensure there is no risk.

How long does it take?

It usually only takes minutes for the physician to administer the medication using the spehocath device. After the procedure the patient will need to lay flat for 10 minutes to experience maximum relief.

What are the possible side effects/complications of the procedure?

All procedures in medicine carry a risk of complications, this procedure has minimal associated side effects and low risks. Precautions are always taken to minimize the risk as far as possible. Generally injections are safe but occasionally the following risks may occur:

  • Failure of procedure to help
  • Worsening of pain (temporarily or permanently)
  • Bleeding/ bruising to the injected area
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Numbness