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A New Migraine Headache Treatment You Should Know About

Sphenopalatine Ganglion (SPG) Block Procedure Offers a New Option for Migraine Headache SufferersHeadshots-3

Migraine headaches are one of the most common, debilitating diseases in the Unites States, and the cost and side effects of prescription medications to address migraines can become overwhelming. But, a short, simple procedure targeting a group of nerve cells inside and behind the nose is bringing new hope and sustained relief to some migraine headache patients who have tried a new procedure called a sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) nerve block.

“SPG works because a patient’s SPG is linked to their trigeminal nerve, which is involved in migraine headaches,” said Brian B. Rhodes, MD, an interventional radiologist at CVMC.

Chronic migraine sufferers can find relief with a 15 minute, non-invasive treatment administered through the nose via a needleless catheter called a Sphenocath. During the procedure, a numbing medication is applied to the SPG, a structure behind the nose where the nerves that register facial and migraine pain reside.

“Intranasal SPG blocks are image-guide, targeted, breakthrough treatments,” said Dr. Rhodes. “They offer a patient-centered therapy that has the potential to break the migraine cycle and quickly improve a patients’ quality of life.”

Administering lidocaine to the SPG acts as a ‘reset button’ for the brain’s migraine circuitry. When the initial numbing of the lidocaine wears off, the migraine trigger seems to no longer have the maximum effect that it once did. In fact, some patients have reported immediate relief and are making fewer trips to the hospital for emergency headache medicine.

Dr. Rhodes says that, because of the minimally invasive nature of the treatment and the medication’s safety profile, patients can have the SPG block repeated, if needed.

The SPG treatment by Catawba Radiology is very low risk and has very high success rates. It is also indicated in patients with trigeminal neuralgia, cluster headaches, and atypical facial pain. This pain-free procedure is safe for adults and children and is reimbursed by most insurance companies and Medicare. To schedule a consultation or to find out more about what to expect during the SPG procedure, contact Catawba Radiology at 828.322.2644.

This article was first published on August 11, 2016 in Catawba Valley Medical Center’s Health First Newsletter


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