[Efficacy of opioid analgesia at the superior cervical ganglion in neuropathic head and facial pain].


The efficacy of ganglionic local opioid analgesia (GLOA) at the superior cervical ganglion (SCG) was retrospectively investigated in 74 consecutive patients with neuropathic pain in the head and face region. It was possible to retrospectively analyze the short-term and medium-term treatment results in 64 of 74 patients. The long-term effect was subsequently determined using a standardized questionnaire. The short-term analgesic effect of the first blockade by GLOA was significant with a mean pain reduction of 52% (p < 0.001). Within a span of 20 min the mean pain intensity decreased from 65 to 28 on a visual analogue scale. A clinically relevant pain reduction (> or = 30%) was observed in 73% of the patients. The proportion of responders (pain reduction > or = 50%) was 59% after the first blockade. Patients with zoster or trigeminal neuralgia experienced greater pain relief than patients with atypical facial pain or longer lasting postzoster neuralgia. During the course of the blockade series with an average duration of 33 days, a significant medium-term pain reduction of 30% was noted. In the first 3 treatment days, the level of continuous pain declined from 6.3 to 4.3 on a numerical rating scale. Short-term responders reported a better medium-term pain reduction than nonresponders. After 3 years (range: 5 months to 6 years), 21% of 52 patients remained free of pain. The other patients reported often only minimal residual pain or a decrease of pain severity and duration. According to these results, GLOA at the SCG can represent a suitable and simple treatment option for neuropathic facial pain.

Cite this paper

@article{Elsner2006EfficacyOO, title={[Efficacy of opioid analgesia at the superior cervical ganglion in neuropathic head and facial pain].}, author={Frank Elsner and Lukas Radbruch and Jan Gaertner and Uwe Straub and Rainer Sabatowski}, journal={Schmerz}, year={2006}, volume={20 4}, pages={268-72, 274-6} }