Migraine Pain Relief

Jul 15, 2019

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Suburban Imaging now offers SphenoCath®, a simple and effective procedure used to provide patients with immediate and long-term relief from migraine headaches and facial pain. The SphenoCath® device and procedure differs from conventional headache prescription medications, because we treat the pain right at its source with a quick, painless, and minimally invasive sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) blocking technique.

What is a Sphenopalatine Ganglion (SPG) Block?

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 an SPG block.

An SPG block procedure using the SphenoCath®, which is performed by a board-certified radiologist (physician), is both low-risk and effective in patients of all ages, as well as pregnant women, without the use of needles or harsh medications. Most patients report immediate relief that lasts for weeks or even months at a time.

What is a SphenoCath®?

SphenoCath® is a soft, tiny applicator used for a sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) nerve block. Interventional radiologists use image guidance to apply medication to the SPG, a bundle of nerves in the back of the nasal cavity.

What can I expect during an SPG block?

Before: There is no prep prior to your first appointment. Your first appointment will take approximately 60 minutes where you will be evaluated to determine if you are a candidate for an SPG block. Subsequent appointments will be approximately 30 minutes.

During: You will lie down on an exam table. An interventional radiologist (a board-certified physician) will use a SphenoCath® device to deliver a local anesthetic, lidocaine (the same or similar medication used by a dentist) though your nasal passage. The SphenoCath® is small and soft and the procedure is not painful. An SPG block using the SphenoCath® takes two to three minutes. You will remain in a flat or reclined position for 10-15 minutes afterwards to maximize the benefit.

After: Some patients will experience an unpleasant taste in their mouth or temporary unpleasant numbness in their throat after the procedure. Some will feel difficulty in swallowing; however, this will resolve itself in a few minutes. Generally, there is very little discomfort with the procedure. We recommend that patients refrain from eating or drinking for two hours after the procedure and avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours. You may drive yourself home, however, we also recommend having alternative transportation available in the small chance you do not feel comfortable driving.

Who is a candidate for an SPG Block?

Anyone who suffers from chronic headaches, craniofacial pain, facial pain, migraines or trigeminal neuralgia. It is safe for all ages, including pregnant women and teens. A referral from a healthcare provider is not needed to schedule. 

What is the cost of an SPG Block?

An SPG block is considered an out-of-pocket exam and is not covered by most insurance plans. The cost of each treatment is $395. For maximum benefit, we recommend three treatments spaced two weeks apart. Your insurance will not be billed for this procedure, although flexible spending dollars or a health savings account can be used. 

Where can I have this procedure?

An SPG block is available exclusively at our Southdale (Edina) location. 

For more information, please visit www.MNMigraineRelief.com or call 952.837.9762.

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