The Truth about Migraine Surgery

What exactly is a migraine? You have to ask a person who actually has these terrible headaches to understand the debilitating nature of the problem. Migraine sufferers may have to lie in a darkened room for hours on end (sometimes days) and wait for the pain to pass. A migraine attack is something that can completely transform your normal life, making it an insufferable round of pain, misery and medication. A migraine is completely unpredictable, as it can come on anytime, anywhere, with any number of different triggers and symptoms. It is a common medical problem all over the world, with over 15% of people in the USA suffering from it. More women suffer from migraine attacks than men. 

Why Migraine Surgery?
Migraines take on diverse symptoms with different people, as the triggers for the attack are varied; it could be a particular food item, changes in the weather, hormonal fluctuations, certain smells like perfumes or room fresheners, or just stress. Strangely, some people get migraines and no triggers can be found, so no one treatment or cure can be utilized for all migraine patients. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for this problem. Treatments have to vary according to the patient, as some respond to certain modalities more than others. Some sufferers respond very well to medication and the attacks can be controlled, prevented and in some cases terminated. There are however, many who continue to get these painful attacks in spite of taking strong medicines on a regular basis.

Medical research has revealed that for certain people, the irritation of some nerve endings in the head and neck precipitate an attack of migraine. In certain patients, the irritated nerve endings get inflamed to such an extent that it results in a full-blown migraine attack. In migraine surgery, the trigger points are located and the pressure of the nerve is released to ensure that attacks do not begin at all, or at least, that their number and severity are minimized.

How it works
In the process, the first step is the identification of the trigger points--the inflamed nerve endings--through Botox, Cortisone or some other medicine that numbs these areas. Then the surgeon accesses these through very tiny slits in the eyelids or behind the hairline. The surrounding muscles are then removed, either in part or totally, to reduce the pressure that causes the migraine.

The Benefits of Migraine Surgery
It has to be mentioned here that migraine surgery does not always result in a total alleviation of the migraine attacks. This occurs in around 35% of the patients. But in more than 90% of patients, there is a remarkable reduction in the number of attacks, pain and duration.

Though the surgery does not totally eliminate the possibility of migraine attacks, it brings down the frequency and intensity level, thereby helping the patient lead a more normal life with less pain. Migraine surgery therefore raises the threshold for getting a migraine attack, giving relief to countless numbers of people whose lives were one vicious circle of pain and misery. The success of migraine surgery in the chosen patient group has been proven in several studies with the success rate as high as 90% and there is a 50% decline in the duration, frequency of attacks and the pain.

Simple, quick and lasting
Migraine surgery is a minimally-invasive procedure with the majority of patients walking out on the same day. There is an initial protocol where the candidate is chosen with great care, as not all migraine sufferers qualify for the surgery. A feeling of numbness may persist in the forehead area for some weeks and the sutures dissolve and disappear after some time. As mentioned before, most of the