Traditional migraine surgery that requires cutting and removal of muscle and nerve tissue is hardly ‘traditional’ at all. However some plastic surgeons and patients, who battle chronic migraines, believe it has helped treat pain and eliminate the headaches. This treatment differs significantly from the Omega migraine procedure, which does not involve permanently changing the patient’s anatomy by cutting and removing nerves and muscle.
The surgery was popularized by a plastic surgeon from Cleveland who accidentally stumbled upon the treatment when one of his forehead-lift surgical patients reported that her migraines improved following the cosmetic procedure.
Most recently, a study in the online edition of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reported that a modified form of this migraine surgery was used to treat chronic migraines, which were attributed to compression of certain craniofacial nerves. The procedure did not involve the use of an endoscope, but rather more typical open incisions used in cosmetic surgery.
The data from 35 patients who underwent 43 surgical procedures indicated that in over 90 per cent of procedures, at least a 50 percent improvement in overall symptoms was perceived. A little more than half of the patients no longer had migraine symptoms, and approximately 28 per cent of the patients had at least an 80 per cent improvement. The study’s lead surgeon said, “We confirmed that surgery through standard incisions used for cosmetic procedures can be very effective in treating some of the most severe cases of chronic migraine.” A procedure like this however, comes with typical risks associated with invasive surgery.
The American Headache Society cautions patients who are considering invasive surgery for migraines. The plastic surgery procedure is based on the concept that migraines are triggered by compression of the craniofacial and trigeminal nerves from contracting muscles. The surgeons believe that removing muscle and nerve tissue will alleviate this pressure.
On the contrary, the Omega migraine procedure is reversible and involves implanting a small device, which transmits gentle electronic pulses that interfere with pain signals.