What is the trigeminal nerve?
It is the nerve that supplies feeling and movement in the face. The ganglion are the surrounding nerve cells.
What is a trigeminal ganglion block?
A block is an injection of a local anesthetic and/or steroid directly into nerve tissues. The medications work to help alleviate the pain and discomfort. This block is used when the trigeminal nerve causes extreme pain and muscle spasms in the face when the pain occurs from cluster headaches, cancer-related pain, trigeminal neuralgia, or atypical facial pain.
How is the procedure performed?
You will be asked to lie on your back on the x-ray table. The side of the face where the pain is felt is cleaned with a special solution called betadine. Next, a local anesthesia of lidocaine will be given to numb the area. Once the area is numb a needle is inserted through the skin, which is directed under x-ray until it reaches the trigeminal ganglion. A local anesthetic and steroid will then be injected after making sure that the needle is not in a blood vessel or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).