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Supra/Infraorbital Nerve Block

The trigeminal nerve is one of the 12 cranial nerves and is responsible for providing sensation to the face as well as various facial muscular functions such as chewing. The nerve runs from the skull, branching into three divisions that supply feeling to the forehead, the cheek and the lower jaw.

The first branch (V1) is called the ophthalmic branch.This nerve transitions peripherally into the frontal nerve, which splits into two branches, the supratrochlear nerve and the supraorbital nerve. These nerves provide sensation to the eyelid, the forehead and a portion of the scalp.

The second branch (V2) is called the maxillary branch. One of the last branches of this nerve is called the infraorbital nerve, which supplies sensation to the lower eyelid the cheek, and the upper lip.

How It Works

A supraorbital or infraorbital nerve block is performed with x-ray guidance to increase the procedure’s accuracy and safety.

  • You will lay on your back, and your face will be cleaned with an antiseptic.
  • Then, a sterile drape will be placed.  
  • Your physician will direct a guide needle toward the intended target area under x-ray guidance. A local anesthetic and a steroid (cortisone) will be administered close to the nerve to block signals from reaching the brain. The cortisone serves as an anti-inflammatory.
  • The needle is then flushed and withdrawn, and a band-aid is placed over the point of needle entry.

Risks

This procedure is safe. With any procedure, however, there are risks, side effects and the possibility of complications. The most common side effect is temporary pain at the injection site. Other less common risks include bleeding, infection, or injection into blood vessels. Fortunately, serious side effects and complications are uncommon. X-ray guidance significantly minimizes the risk.