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Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block

A sphenopalatine ganglion block may be used therapeutically for chronic headaches or for conditions involving atypical facial pain or central pain (anywhere on body) related to strokes.

How is this procedure done?

You will be positioned lying on your back with head extended. The physician will be inserting cotton swabs or patties down each nostril. These swabs have been soaked in a mixture of numbing medications to make a clear thin jelly like consistency. The swabs will be removed and new ones inserted approximately every 15 to 20 minutes for approximately 45 to 60 minutes. You may notice that some of the medication drains into your throat.

Will the procedure hurt?

This procedure may be uncomfortable but usually is not painful.

Will I need more than one?

If this procedure is helpful in relieving your symptoms, then it may be repeated as needed.

What are the risks and side effects?

Risks include infection, bleeding, or allergic reaction to the medications. You may also have some slight numbness in your throat.

What should I expect after the procedure?

After the procedure, your pain may be gone or significantly decreased. Please keep a diary of the course of your pain or headache until the next visit.

What should I do to prepare for the procedure?

To prepare for the procedure, do the following:
  1. You may take routine medications.
  2. You must not eat or drink 6 hours prior to your procedure unless otherwise directed.

What should I expect the day of the procedure?

  1. Your medical history will be reviewed.
  2. After the procedure you may eat or drink. Normal medications may be resumed.