Migraine Relief

Now you can have lasting pain relief.

SphenoCath: target headache pain at the source

Chronic, tension-type headaches can interrupt your life. People who have them experience debilitating pain at least 15 days out of the month. In addition to being uncomfortable, they can make it difficult for you to lead a normal life.

The most common headaches are migraine headaches, cluster headaches and headaches due to trigeminal neuralgia, tension, sinusitis and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ). Studies have shown that the pain from these types of headaches is closely associated with an area of nerves in the back of the nasal cavity known as the sphenopalatine ganglion, or SPG. But now there can be migraine relief with SphenoCath.

What is SphenoCath?

SphenoCath is an interventional radiology procedure, performed by a specially trained doctor, to numb or “block” the nerves in the SPG. It is a safe, nonsurgical and FDA-approved treatment for headaches using a specially designed catheter and is performed through the nostrils. This procedure has been shown to significantly improve symptoms and restore quality of life.

What should I expect during the procedure?

Since the procedure requires no sedation, you should be able to travel to and from the appointment. After an initial examination you will be given an anesthetic spray in each nostril. You will be asked to lie down with your neck slightly extended. The doctor will then guide a very thin, 5 cm long tube into each nostril using the fluoroscope (a type of x-ray). A very small amount of x-ray dye, called contrast, is injected to confirm that the catheter is in the proper position.

When the correct position is confirmed, the doctor will then administer medication, called xylocaine, through the syringe to temporarily “block” the SPG. The entire procedure takes about 15 minutes.

How successful is the SphenoCath procedure?

Up to 80% of patients with one of the common types of headaches (listed previously) will show significant improvement of their symptoms. Nearly two out of three patients will experience complete or near- complete resolution of symptoms within 24 hours of the procedure.

The majority of patients report sustained improvement at one month, and about half maintained this improvement at three months. Most patients were able to decrease or stop pain medications.

How often will I need treatment?

If significant relief is achieved, the SphenoCath procedure can be repeated as often as needed to reduce or eliminate pain.

Are there any risks?

Risks associated with the SphenoCath procedure are few. Allergic reactions to xylocaine or the contrast used during catheter placement have occurred, but are rare. Infection and nosebleed are also possible, but rare. You may experience a bitter taste from the medicine as well as temporary numbness in the nose, mouth and throat from the xylocaine.

SphenoCath at Radiology Associates of Hartford

The interventional radiologists are doctors who specialize in minimally invasive treatments using imaging guidance. The doctors who perform SphenoCath have been specially trained in performing transnasal SPG blocks, and are among the most experienced doctors in the region who perform this service.

To learn more about SphenoCath, or if you would like us to consult with your doctor, please call us at (860) 969-6400.

Radiology Associates of Hartford serves patients around Avon, Rocky Hill, Bloomfield, Enfield and Glastonbury, Connecticut.