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Chronic migraine and severe headaches are common conditions and the available treatments are not universally effective. Sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) blocks are a proposed treatment option for chronic migraines and some severe non-migraine headaches. The SPG is a group of nerve cells located behind the bony structures of the nose. The nerve bundle is linked to the trigeminal nerve, the primary nerve involved in headache disorders. The SPG has both autonomic nerves, which in this case are associated with functions such as tearing and nasal congestion, and sensory nerves, associated with pain perception. SPG blocks involve topical application of local anesthetic to mucosa overlying the SPG. The rationale for using SPG blocks to treat headaches is that local anesthetics in low concentrations could block the sensory fibers and thereby reduce pain while maintaining autonomic function.
Three catheter devices are commercially available in the United States for performing SPG blocks. The catheters have somewhat different designs but all are attached to syringes that contain local anesthetic. The catheters are inserted intranasally and, once in place, the local anesthetic is applied through the catheter. With 2 of the 3 commercially available catheters (the SphenoCath®, Allevio™), patients are positioned on their back with their nose pointed vertically and their head turned to the side. With the Tx360® device, patients remain seated.
Sphenopalatine ganglion blocks are considered EXPERIMENTAL/INVESTIGATIVE for all indications, including but not limited to the treatment of migraines and non-migraine headaches due to the lack of clinical evidence demonstrating an impact on improved health outcomes.
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Note that services with specific coverage criteria may be reviewed retrospectively to determine if criteria are being met. Retrospective denial of claims may result if criteria are not met.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota reserves the right to revise, update and/or add to its medical policies at any time without notice. Codes listed on this policy are included for informational purposes only and are subject to change without notice. Inclusion or exclusion of a code does not constitute or imply member coverage or provider reimbursement.
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CPT® codes copyright American Medical Association® 2022. All rights reserved.
CDT codes copyright American Dental Association® 2022. All rights reserved.