Depicting the pterygopalatine ganglion on 3 Tesla magnetic resonance images

Daniel Fossum Bratbak, Mari Folvik, Ståle Nordgård, Lars Jacob Stovner, David W. Dodick, Manjit Matharu, Erling Tronvik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: The pterygopalatine ganglion has yet not been identified on medical images in living humans. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate whether the pterygopalatine ganglion could be identified on 3 T MR imaging. Methods: This study was performed on medical images of 20 Caucasian subjects on both sides (n = 40 ganglia) with an exploratory design. 3 T MR images were assessed by two physicians for the presence and size of the pterygopalatine ganglion. The distance from the pterygopalatine ganglion to four bony landmarks was registered from fused MR and CT images. In an equivalence analysis, the distances were compared to those obtained in an anatomical cadaveric study serving as historical controls (n = 50). Results: A structure assumed to be the pterygopalatine ganglion was identified on MR images in all patients on both sides by both physicians. The mean size was depth 2.1 ± 0.5 mm, width 4.2 ± 1.1 mm and height 5.1 ± 1.4 mm, which is in accordance with formerly published data. Equivalence of the measurements on MR images and the historical controls was established, suggesting that the structure identified on the MR images is the pterygopalatine ganglion. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the pterygopalatine ganglion can be detected on 3 T MR images. Identification of the pterygopalatine ganglion may be important for image-guided interventions targeting the pterygopalatine ganglion, and has the potential to increase the efficacy, safety and reliability for these treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-695
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical and Radiologic Anatomy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Image guidance
  • MRI
  • Magnetic resonance
  • Pterygopalatine ganglion
  • Sphenopalatine ganglion
  • Surgical navigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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