Indian Journal of Palliative Care
Open access journal 
  Print this page Email this page   Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size Users online: 444  
     Home | About | Feedback | Login 
  Current Issue Back Issues Editorial Board Authors and Reviewers How to Subscribe Advertise with us Contact Us Analgesic Prescription  
  Navigate Here 
 Resource Links
    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Article in PDF (412 KB)
    Citation Manager
    Access Statistics
    Reader Comments
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this Article

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded69    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal


Table of Contents 
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 360-361

Transnasal approach to sphenopalatine ganglion blockade: An alternate technique

Ashirvad Institute for Pain Management and Research, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication9-Sep-2015

Correspondence Address:
Lakshmi Vas
Ashirvad Institute for Pain Management and Research, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1075.164885

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Pai R, Vas L. Transnasal approach to sphenopalatine ganglion blockade: An alternate technique. Indian J Palliat Care 2015;21:360-1

How to cite this URL:
Pai R, Vas L. Transnasal approach to sphenopalatine ganglion blockade: An alternate technique. Indian J Palliat Care [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 Jun 18];21:360-1. Available from:


Palliative pain treatment for head and neck cancers manifesting as intractable atypical facial pains, headaches, and deep-seated otalgias is one of the indications for sphenopalatine ganglion blockade (SPGB). Similar benign pains could also be indications.[1]

The anatomical distortion of tissues by oral cancers, surgery, or post-radiation fibrosis often makes the approach to the ganglion by the lateral or greater palatine foramen difficult by masking the landmarks. This makes transnasal approach an attractive option. During such an approach performed commonly with cotton-tipped applicator, it is likely to encounter technical difficulties (due to polyps, deviated septum, spurs, or hypertrophied turbinates; anatomical distortion produced by post-maxillectomy hollow) or traumatize the nasal mucosa.[2]

We herein describe yet another alternate technique of delivering the medications to the SPG apart from those that find mention in the literature.[3],[4],[5],[6] The compliance of the patient for the technique is ensured by lubricating the nostril on the side of the proposed block with Lignocaine hydrochloride jelly (LOX 2% jelly). The position of the middle turbinate is assessed by the point on external nasal wall in the plane of the zygomatic arch and the frontal process of maxillary bone. The distance of this point to the ala nasae is measured approximately. An epidural catheter without the filter (PORTEX SYSTEM 1, Smiths medical) previously stiffened by placing it in ice-cold water for 15–20 minutes in order to maintain its natural curve during progression in the nasal passage is then introduced to a length 0.5–1 cm more than the calculated distance of the middle turbinate from the ala of the nose. The extra length and the stiff curve ensure the placement of the catheter approximately near the SPG fossa that is normally located a few mm deep to the nasal mucosa. In patients with post-maxillectomy hollow, the length of the catheter to be inserted can be assessed approximately by finding it on the opposite normal nostril. Besides, though in these conditions, the bone is removed, the middle turbinate behind which the ganglion is situated is normally left intact. We usually assume the end-point to have been reached after this length has been passed though checking the position with dye spread could be confirmatory. The patient is then turned so as to make the side to be blocked dependant. The patient is instructed to indicate any bitter taste of local anesthetic reaching the throat by raising a finger whereupon the performer can withhold further injection for some time. The medication (local anesthetic [0.5 ml of Lignocaine hydrochloride {Loxicard 2% NEON} + steroid [1 ml of Betamethasone {Betnesol 4 mg/ml, GLAXO}]) is given in very slow titration—0.1 ml per minute per aliquot with a 2 ml syringe because when used in head and neck cancer patients with post-radiation fibrosis and secretions/infection, the absorption is slow and erratic. The slow administration also avoids trickling of the local anesthesia (LA) to the naso and oropharynx as well as anesthetizing it and blocking the swallowing reflex which is very uncomfortable to the patients. Moreover, 0.5 ml of 2% Lignocaine hydrochloride is injected first at the rate mentioned; after 10 minutes elapses, 1.0 ml of Betamethasone is injected at the same rate; at the end of the injection of this volume, 0.5 ml of Lignocaine hydrochloride is pushed to remove the steroid remaining in the dead space of the catheter which is about 0.3 ml when the filter is not attached. This method of spaced administration increases the surface area as well as the rate and amount of absorption. The position of the catheter tip can be easily maintained to optimize the drug delivery. Tearing (lacrimation) of the eye on the blocked side is a reliable sign of successful blockade as is the pain relief. The use of the catheter is simple, safe, and inexpensive; use of the 20-guage catheter that is designed for 18-gauge needle reduces incidence of mechanical trauma as well as ensures site-specific controlled delivery of the drug. The three "eyes" situated at 0.5 cm intervals at the proximal end of the catheter serves to spray the drug in different directions, thereby covering wider surface area of the mucosa over the ganglion.

  References Top

Waldman SD. Atlas of Interventional Pain Management. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier; 2009. p. 12-14.  Back to cited text no. 1
Raj PP, Lou Leland, Erdine S, Staats PS, Waldman SD, Racz G, et al. Interventional Pain Management. Image-Guided Procedures. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. p. 108-15.  Back to cited text no. 2
Windsor RE, Jahnke S. Sphenopalatine ganglion blockade: A review and proposed modification of the transnasal technique. Pain Physician 2004;7:283-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
Candido KD, Massey ST, Sauer R, Darabad RR, Knezevic NN. A novel revision to the classical transnasal topical sphenopalatine ganglion block for the treatment of headache and facial pain. Pain Physician 2013;16:E769-78.  Back to cited text no. 4
Varghese BT, Koshy RC. Endoscopic transnasal neurolytic sphenopalatine ganglion block for head and neck cancer pain. J Laryngol Otol 2001;115:385-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
Varghese G, Murthy P. Medical education: Nasal endoscope and you. Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1999;51:84-9.  Back to cited text no. 6


Print this article  Email this article
Online since 1st October '05
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow