Current Issue - May-June 2016 - Vol 19 Issue 4


  1. 2016;19;E637-E642Chronic Bilateral Sphenopalatine Ganglion Stimulation for Intractable Bilateral Chronic Cluster Headache: A Case Report
    Case Report
    Da-wei Meng, MD, Jian-guo Zhang, MD, PhD, Zhong Zheng, MD, Xiu Wang, MD, Fang Luo, MD, and Kai Zhang, MD, PhD.

A cluster headache (CH) is an excruciating pain centered on the periorbital region and is accompanied by autonomic symptoms. Despite the best currently available medical therapy, many patients still suffer from these headaches. Some patients also experience CH with side shift of attacks, which makes treatment more difficult.

In light of the pathophysiological mechanism of CH, the sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) is a promising therapeutic target for its management. SPG ablation and non-ablation techniques have been the preferred treatment for CH in recent decades. However, few articles have reported the effectiveness of acute SPG stimulation for CH, and no studies have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of bilateral continuous SPG stimulation for CH.

In this article, we report on a 59-year-old chronic cluster headache (CCH) patient who had side shifts of attacks and was treated with bilateral continuous SPG stimulation. The patient suffered from CCH for 9 years, and the intensity of pain and the frequency of attacks had gradually increased over time. At the time of admission, he experienced daily attacks. Medical therapy and SPG blocks were offered, but he only achieved transient pain relief.

After a careful preoperative examination and discussion with the patient, we provided bilateral SPG stimulation. The electrode was implanted under C-arm fluoroscopic guidance. After continuous stimulation, the patient experienced significant reductions in headache severity. The frequency of attacks was reduced from daily to less than once per week. He also discontinued all of the related drugs that he was taking.

This is the first report of bilateral continuous SPG stimulation for CCH. This report indicates that continuous SPG stimulation is a feasible therapeutic option for CCH. However, large-scale and long-term studies are required to elucidate the efficacy of SPG stimulation.

Key words: Cluster headache, sphenopalatine ganglion, SPG, neuromodulation, side shift, stimulation