The Sphenopalatine Ganglion: Anatomy, Pathophysiology, and Therapeutic Targeting in Headache

Headache. 2016 Feb;56(2):240-58. doi: 10.1111/head.12729. Epub 2015 Nov 30.


The sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) has attracted the interest of practitioners treating head and face pain for over a century because of its anatomical connections and role in the trigemino-autonomic reflex. In this review, we discuss the anatomy of the SPG, as well as what is known about its role in the pathophysiology of headache disorders, including cluster headache and migraine. We then address various therapies that target the SPG, including intranasal medication delivery, new SPG blocking catheter devices, neurostimulation, chemical neurolysis, and ablation procedures.

Keywords: ablation; cluster; ganglion; headache; migraine; neuralgia; neurostimulation; pterygopalatine; sphenopalatine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ganglia, Autonomic / anatomy & histology*
  • Ganglia, Autonomic / physiology*
  • Headache* / pathology
  • Headache* / physiopathology
  • Headache* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block / methods*