Surgical techniques may help alleviate migraines

When I first read the medical headlines saying that there was a surgery in which 83% of the patients reported at least a 50 percent reduction in migraines it seemed too good to be true. Now that I’ve read the study, I’m a believer. But, the surgery is not for everyone.

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In the Los Angeles Times Booster Shots blog, Shara Yurkiewicz noted that “patients with frequent moderate to severe migraine headaches with pain radiating from a single region were treated surgically – with excellent results.”

The study included 75 patients, according to HealthDay.

In their paper published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the team explained that “migraine trigger sites in the forehead, cheek, and back of the head/neck were identified, then injected with the face-lifter Botox to see if the drug ‘disarmed’ them.”

And, if “the trigger sites responded to the Botox, which lasts about six-to-eight weeks, then the patients underwent surgery to remove the trigger areas.”

In all, 49 “patients were randomized to receive ‘real’ surgery and 26 to ‘sham surgery,” with the procedures varying by trigger points.

A year later, “83 percent of the actual surgery group reported at least a 50 percent reduction in migraines, compared to 57 percent of the sham surgery group,” WebMD reported.

“Even more surprising, 57 percent of actual surgery patients reported complete elimination of migraines, compared to just four percent of sham surgery patients.”

Now, I don’t think this technique is for everyone. But, for those who have found no relief with a wide variety of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapies, this may be one to consider.

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