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Pterygopalatine Ganglion
Nervous System

Pterygopalatine Ganglion

Ganglion pterygopalatinum

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Quick Facts

Location: The pterygopalatine ganglion sits in the pterygopalatine fossa.

Branches: Ganglionic branches that communicate with the maxillary nerve, greater and lesser palatine nerves, pharyngeal nerve, nerve of the pterygoid canal, and several nasal nerves including the nasopalatine nerve and lateral posterior superior nasal nerve.

Supply: Parasympathetic innervation to the lacrimal gland as well as the glands of the oral cavity, nasal cavity, and palate.

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Location

The pterygopalatine ganglion sits in the pterygopalatine fossa. It is derived from cranial neural crest cells that develop into parasympathetic neurons.

Branches & Supplied Structures

The pterygopalatine ganglion has many major branches, one of which enters the ganglion to be distributed to the face, and the others which are sensory branches of the maxillary nerve passing through the ganglion on their way back to the brainstem.

The ganglionic branches ascend from the pterygopalatine ganglion to the maxillary nerve. It is through these ganglionic branches that the pterygopalatine ganglion is connected to the maxillary nerve.

The greater palatine nerve conveys autonomic fibers from the pterygopalatine ganglion to the mucosa of the hard palate, gums and inferior nasal cavity, and sensory fibers from these areas back to the maxillary nerve and brainstem.

The lesser palatine nerve conveys autonomic fibers from the pterygopalatine ganglion to the mucosa of the soft palate and fauces, and sensory fibers from these areas back to the maxillary nerve and brainstem.

The pharyngeal nerve carries sensory fibers from the nasopharynx back to the maxillary nerve and brainstem and autonomic fibers to the mucosa of the nasopharynx.

The nerve of the pterygoid canal carries preganglionic parasympathetic fibers and sympathetic fibers to the pterygopalatine ganglion from the greater petrosal nerve and deep petrosal nerve, respectively.

The lateral posterior superior nasal nerve and the nasopalatine nerve convey sensory information from the nasal cavity back to the maxillary nerve via the pterygopalatine ganglion. The nasopalatine nerve also conveys sensory information from the anterior most hard palate and gums near the incisive canal. All nasal nerves associated with the pterygopalatine ganglion distribute parasympathetic and sympathetic fibers to the mucosa of the nasal cavity.

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Pterygopalatine Ganglion

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The pterygopalatine ganglion (aka Meckel’s ganglion, nasal ganglion, or sphenopalatine ganglion) is a parasympathetic ganglion found in the pterygopalatine fossa.

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