Tell me more about the SphenoCath® device.
The SphenoCath® device is a one-of-a-kind patented, soft, flexible, spaghetti-sized catheter which employs a flexible outer sheath with soft edges for comfort and an inner angled flexible catheter to deliver medication without the use of a needle inside the nasal passageway with maximum patient comfort. The device has a directional arrow for proper orientation within the nostril and can, optionally, include a tungsten tip and barium impregnated sheath for high visibility under fluoroscopic imaging, if needed. Depth markings on the external sheath are also available as an option.
What is SPG block and why will it help me?
SPG block stands for sphenopalatine ganglion block. The sphenopalatine ganglion is a collection of nerve cells located just under the tissue lining the back of the nose. By applying a local anesthetic to the area, nerve impulses can be temporarily blocked, providing relief from various types of pain. The patented SphenoCath® is designed to quickly and comfortably deliver medication to the area of the sphenopalatine ganglion.
Will it hurt?
Some patients experience a minor discomfort when the small, soft SphenoCath® is inserted into the nose, but the procedure is not painful when performed correctly. In the past, SPG block was accomplished with a long needle through the side of the head or with a stiff, cotton-tipped applicator through the nose. The patented SphenoCath® uses no needles and is designed to be comfortable and safe for patients.
How long will it take?
SPG block using the SphenoCath® takes 2-3 minutes. Patients are encouraged to remain in a flat or reclined position for 10-15 minutes afterwards to maximize the benefit of the procedure.
What medications are used?
The medication choice is up to your healthcare provider. Most practitioners perform SPG block using a local anesthetic such as lidocaine, the same or similar medication that is injected by a dentist or used to anesthetize a laceration before stitches. With the SphenoCath®, however, no needles are used. The medication is absorbed through the lining of the nose.
What are the side effects or risks with the SphenoCath®?
The risks of using the SphenoCath® include irritation to nasal cavity or mucosa, nose bleeding; and/or mild pain.
Why haven't I heard of SPG block before?
SPG block has been done for many years but, until the invention of the patented SphenoCath®, the procedure has been difficult, uncomfortable, and offered only by a few practitioners. Now SPG blocks can be done quickly, easily, and comfortably, and by a wide variety of practitioners.
What about my headache medications?
Do not change your headache medications unless instructed to do so by your provider.
What is SPG block and why should I consider it for my patient?
The sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) is located just deep to the nasal mucosa posterior to the middle nasal turbinate. The SPG can be blocked by diffusion of local anesthetic through the overlying mucosa. Sensory, sympathetic and parasympathetic fibers pass through or synapse in the SPG, making it a key structure in various types of cephalgia. Temporarily blocking function of the SPG can provide prompt, and sometimes sustained, relief of pain. It is theorized that an SPG block provides sustained relief by disrupting dysfunctional neuronal activity, allowing restoration of normal function.
Why is the SphenoCath® important?
The SPG block has been described in the medical literature for over 100 years. It has been proven effective for many painful conditions. The main limitation to the procedure has been that it is the discomfort and risks for patients, the inconsistency of medicine placement impacting results. The SphenoCath® addresses all of those issues, making the procedure quick, easy and consistent.