New Procedure Brings Relief from Migraines
Migraines: The complex set of symptoms that can make daily life nearly impossible may be invisible to others, but utterly debilitating to people who suffer from them. From extreme headaches to nausea, vomiting, numbness, dizziness, changes in vision, and ultra-sensitivity to things like sounds, light, and even smells, the combination of symptoms for migraine can vary from person to person. But there is one thing that all migraine sufferers have in common – a deep desire for relief.
Now, a new therapy for treatment of migraines is offered by Central Georgia Health Network physician Marcus Evans, M.D., a neuroradiologist with Vascular and Interventional Radiology Associates of Central Georgia. This interventional procedure provides prolonged relief from the debilitating pain of migraine and cluster headaches, trigeminal neuralgia, and more. Endorsed by the National Headache Association and the American Migraine Foundation, this treatment, called a “sphenopalatine ganglion block” (also known as “SPG block” or “headache block”) has been found to reduce the need for migraine medication among 88 percent of headache patients -- without needles, surgery or medication.
During the outpatient procedure, after a numbing nasal spray, X-ray guidance is utilized to move a small, soft, flexible catheter through the patient’s nasal passages, and gain access to the region of the sphenopalatine ganglion, the bundle of nerves long understood to be associated with many types of headaches. Concentrated topical medication is then administered directly to the ganglion, without the need for needles. Aside from feeling like there’s a spaghetti noodle in the nose, the procedure is relatively painless for patients – and, for so many, it brings the kind of answer they were seeking.
The proof is in the relief.
“After the procedure, the headache trigger seems to no longer have the maximum effect that it once did,” Dr. Evans notes. “We find that it is essentially resetting chaotic impulse conduction in the SPG.”
The response from other physicians in the medical community has also been positive, Dr. Evans says.
“The other day, I received a call from Dr. Jeffrey Langford. He had referred a patient to us for debilitating migraine and sinus headaches, and she had finished her third procedure earlier this month. Dr. Langford said, ‘I’m sitting here with the patient and her mother, and we just wanted to let you know that this procedure has changed this girl’s life.’ He reports that she has had an incredible improvement in the quality of her life and is enjoying her summer basically headache-free.”
Patients who have had this outpatient procedure report no downtime, and fast relief from symptoms of migraine. Despite the high success rate in practices providing this procedure across the U.S. -- including Vascular and Interventional Radiology Associates of Central Georgia, the first and only to offer it in the area -- several insurance carriers still consider this procedure new and investigational. However, some insurance carriers are already providing coverage for this service. For more information on what your insurance will cover, or to find out more about a discounted out-of-pocket option, contact Vascular and Interventional Radiology Associates of Central Georgia at (478) 757-8868, or visit HeadacheBlockGA.com for a complimentary assessment.