First described in 1909, and then used for treatment of various types of headache and facial pain, the sphenopalatine ganglion block may offer a novel, simple and less-invasive treatment for post-dural puncture headache.
Very little has been published, primarily case studies, case series and retrospective audits. This limited data does however suggest that the technique may be as effective as the traditional epidural blood patch, though with significantly fewer risks.
Larger studies are however needed to properly define the block's role in treating PDPH.
Publications describe a trans-nasal approach, either sitting or supine. First topicalising with co-phenylcaine spray, then placing 2%-4% viscous lignocaine-soaked cotton-tipped applicators for 10 minutes, and finally repeated for a further 20 minutes. Success appears to range from 30-70%.
The mechanism of action may result from parasympathetic blockade at the SPG, resulting in reversal of the cerebral vasodilation thought to be associated with post dural puncture headache.
Several videos showing how simple SPG techniques:
- Roger Browning demonstrating one method for performing a topical SPG block.
- SPG Block for chronic migraine.
- SPG demonstration in the ED setting.
- SPG demonstration for family member to perform later at home.
Although there remains much conflicting evidence, largely of a low-quality observational nature, the highest quality evidence to date refutes assertions that epidural fentanyl reduces breastfeeding rates.
Notably Lee et al.’s 2017 RCT of over 300 women showed no effect of epidural fentanyl up to 2 mcg/mL and successful maternal breastfeeding up to 6 weeks.summary