Monday, April 16, 2012

Researchers Investigate Migraine Relief via Mouth-Based Implant: Sphenopalatine Ganglion Stimulation


New to Somebody Heal Me? Subscribe to the Somebody Heal Me feed:
Subscribe in a reader or subscribe by e-mail. Follow me on Twitter @somebodyhealme.

I've written in the past about a device called an occipital nerve stimulator, which is being researched as an option for treating chronic migraines. A different kind of implanted stimulator, which is placed in the patient's gum, is being tested in trials in the United States and Europe.

The device is known as a sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) stimulator. The SPG is a small collection of nerve cells located at the base of both sides of the nose. A tiny electrode is surgically implanted over the patient's SPG and connected to a stimulator. An electrical current is delivered to the stimulator device by a small generator implanted in the patient's chest. Once installed, the system is controlled with a wireless remote.


In a small clinical trial of the device in migraineurs, the results were largely inconclusive. Some patients were helped, while others were not. Confusingly, a patient was helped by a sham version of the stimulator device. Accurate placement of the parts of the stimulator seemed to be the most important factor in the device's success in the clinical trial. The device has been successfully used to treat cluster headaches in a few patients. As with migraine, further studies are needed.

More elaborate clinical trials are currently recruiting patients to test the device, such as this study at the Cleveland Clinic: Electrical Stimulation of the Sphenopalatine Ganglion for Treatment of Migraine Headaches. You can find other studies by searching for "sphenopalatine ganglion stimulator" at ClinicalTrials.gov.

Because the device is still in the early stages of clinical trials, it is not FDA approved for any purpose and therefore not readily available to patients to try. Becoming accepted to a clinical trial would be the best way to try the stimulator if you're interested in it at this time. Please be aware the SPG stimulator has not been studied nearly as much as the occipital nerve stimulator, which is FDA approved for occipital neuralgia, but not migraine.


Sources:
Electrical Stimulation of the Sphenopalatine Ganglion for Treatment of Migraine Headaches
Neurostimulation for Primary Headache Disorders: Sphenopalatine Ganglion Stimulation
Mouth Tingler Implanted in Gum to Beat Pain of Migraine
The Cleveland Clinic Manual of Headache Therapy
BrainsGate's Sphenopalatine Ganglion Stimulator




Subscribe to the Somebody Heal Me feed: Subscribe in a reader or subscribe by e-mail. Follow me on Twitter @somebodyhealme.





Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Check



Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Content by Diana E. Lee.


DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.