Migraine Surgery Emerges as Hopeful Treatment for Migraine Sufferers

By: Madeleine Katzinger

28 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches. 18 percent of women suffer from migraines, which can be both severe and debilitating.  Traditional migraine treatments have been either abortive (stopping the migraine once it begins), or preventative (taking daily or weekly medication to prevent migraines).  However, one-third of migraine sufferers are not helped with conventional therapies.   Encouraging new studies demonstrate that total elimination of migraine headaches through Botox and subsequent migraine surgery is a valid and safe option.     

A History Migraine Surgery and of Botox

Cosmetic Botox surgery has been around since the late 1980’s.   Most people think of Botox injections as only for smoothing and rejuvenating wrinkles around the forehead.  However, in the early 1990’s, two patients reported complete elimination of migraine headaches after they received Botox treatments.   A retrospective study was then begun that looked at hundreds of patients who had undergone Botox treatments for cosmetic reasons. Of those patients who reported suffering from migraines and were questioned about the frequency and severity of their migraines after Botox, 82.8 percent were found to have a reduction in frequency of at least 50 percent, with an average follow up of almost 4 years.   

Subsequent medical studies involved patients who were told to keep a headache diary recording dates, times, and pain levels of their migraines.  The studies were created to help people who were suffering with extreme and frequent migraine headache symptoms.   Therefore, patients whose migraines responded to more conventional medications were eliminated from the study.  After migraine surgery, 55 percent of patients were able to report a complete elimination of migraine headaches.  28 percent reported a significant reduction of migraine headaches.   

Since Botox injections are used as a diagnostic tool and do not cause any serious side effects, migraine surgery can often be recommended as treatment for patients with severe migraine symptoms who have tried many other traditional drug therapies.


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