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A Cosmetic Surgery Solution for Migraines?

cosmetic surgery solution for migrainesAfter noticing that some patients had a reduction in their migraine headaches after undergoing endoscopic brow lift surgery, a plastic surgeon  developed a migraine surgery technique that involves “surgical deactivation” of “trigger sites” in the muscles or nerves that produce pain. Five years after the surgery, 88 percent of patients had less frequent or severe migraines, according to a new study in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal.

Sixty-nine patients were followed for five years after they had the surgery to deactivate muscle and nerve trigger points in places like the forehead, temple and nose. Each patient was tested with Botox prior to surgery in order to confirm the trigger sites. For most patients the surgery targeted at least two trigger sites.

The study found that 59 percent of patients said their headaches were significantly better and 29 percent said their migraines were eliminated completely. Other results from the study included:

  • Average migraine frequency decreased from about eleven to four per month
  • Average migraine duration decreased from 34 to eight hours
  • Migraine surgery led to significant improvements in quality of life, with few serious adverse effects

Fewer wrinkles is an additional benefit patients may receive from the migraine surgery. “For those patients, commonly the aesthetic outcome is pleasing. They just look like they’re less angry or are less serious,” said Bahman Guyuron, MD, who developed the technique.

More research is needed to refine the surgical techniques and to clarify the reasons for the effectiveness of surgical deactivation of trigger sites, but the researchers wrote that “the findings provide strong evidence that surgical deactivation of one or more trigger sites can successfully eliminate or reduce the frequency, duration and intensity of migraine headache, and the results are enduring.”

However, some experts say migraine surgery is probably only a good idea after first trying less invasive treatments.

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