It is a small collection of nerve cells and fibers located next to the mandible and behind the maxilla. It is carrying different kind of nerve cells and fibers: parasympathetic, sympathetic sensory and motor. Some of the nerves going through this ganglion are related to different kind of headaches and facial pain.
Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block:
Block: A Sphenopalatine ganglion block is a short, minimally invasive procedure that is done using local anesthetic (+/- Steroids) to inhibit the signals going through those nerves and control the facial pain. It is effective in treating some acute and chronic facial and head pain. Also it is considered a diagnostic tool to determine the point where the pain signals can be interrupted.
RFA: With successful pain control after the block, longer term pain relief can be achieved in some conditions by doing what so called RadiFrequency Ablation to the same nerves. It is an electrical current produced by radiowave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue, resulting in decreasing pain signals from that specific area.
Narouze et al. (2009) demonstrated that percutaneous radiofrequency ablation of the sphenopalatine ganglion is an extremely effective modality of treatment for patients with intractable chronic cluster headaches.
SPG blocks have been reported to treat the following conditions:
- Cluster headache
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Herpes zoster
- Paroxysmal hemicrania
- Cancer of the head or neck
- Facial pain that is atypical
- Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
- Temporomandibular disorder
- Nasal contact point headache
- Vasomotor rhinitis