Interventional treatment for cluster headache: a review of the options

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2002 Feb;6(1):57-64. doi: 10.1007/s11916-002-0025-6.


There is no more severe pain than that sustained by a cluster headache sufferer. Surgical treatment of cluster headache should only be considered after a patient has exhausted all medical options or when a patient's medical history precludes the use of typical cluster abortive and preventive medications. Once a cluster patient is deemed a medical failure only those who have strictly side-fixed headaches should be considered for surgery. Other criteria for cluster surgery include pain localizing to the ophthalmic division of the trigeminal nerve, a psychologically stable individual, and absence of addictive personality traits. To understand the rationale behind the surgical treatment strategies for cluster, one must have a general understanding of the anatomy of cluster pathogenesis. The most frequently used surgical techniques for cluster are directed toward the sensory trigeminal nerve and the cranial parasympathetic system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Protocols
  • Cluster Headache / pathology
  • Cluster Headache / physiopathology*
  • Cluster Headache / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System / pathology
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System / surgery
  • Trigeminal Nerve / pathology
  • Trigeminal Nerve / physiopathology
  • Trigeminal Nerve / surgery