And it WORKS?
These are two of the main questions people have when they hear about migraine surgery as a potential cure for migraine headaches. In short, the answer to these inquiries is:
Over ten years ago, a plastic surgeon in Cleveland noticed that some of his patients who had undergone a cosmetic brow lift had remarked that their migraine headaches had disappeared since their surgery. He teamed up with a neurologist and began investigating whether this had something to do with how a brow lift was done and which nerves were encountered and released in this procedure.
There is now a pile of scientific evidence that illustrates that operating on migraine headache triggers to eliminate the nerve compression can eliminate or reduce migraine headaches. Also, since one of the insurance companies favorite tricks to deny authorization for their members to have this surgery was to call it "experimental", a long-term results and cost studies have been done.
What the current research clearly shows is:
1. Surgery to release migraine trigger points works in almost 90% of candidates, and nearly half of those who had surgery are cured of their migraine headaches.
2. Surgery costs patients, their employers, and insurance companies less over time than an entire lifetime of migraine medication and missed days at the office.
Many migraineurs do not realize that there is another treatment option other than migraine medications that exists. The new "thing" in migraine treatment is the nerve stimulator. This option, which has been made popular by internet marketing (mainly funded by the device manufacturer, which cost almost $60,000 a piece), is a battery operated device is implanted in your back with wires that travel around the sides of your head. Timed electric currents stimulate the nerves (the same ones released in migraine surgery) to trick them into not sending signals that they are being compressed back to the brain. Unlike migraine surgery, though, you now have a foreign, battery powered machine under your skin that can and does malfunction, run out of batteries, become infected, or misfire.
However, there are migraineurs have nerve stimulators and love them. And there are some people that aren't surgical candidates or that surgery doesn't work for. No migraine treatment is 100% effective, and it's important that you, the potential patient or family member, do your research, evaluate your options, and make the choice that's right for you.