Treating the Chronic Migraine: Botox and Plastic Surgery

January 18, 2012

When it comes to treating a migraine Botox or plastic surgery may be two surprising alternatives.  Such unexpected opportunities often happen in medicine.  Viagra is just one example — the treatment for erectile dysfunction is now used to effectively treat pulmonary hypertension. In October 2010 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Botox (botulinum toxin A derived from bacteria) as a migraine treatment for adult patients.

To treat a chronic migraine, Botox injections are given approximately every 12 weeks. The toxin is injected into suspected trigger points located in the forehead or other areas. By temporarily paralyzing the muscles, it has been shown to diminish migraine pain in some patients. The most common adverse reactions reported following the migraine Botox treatment are neck pain and common headaches.

For patients looking for a more permanent solution, migraine plastic surgery might be an alternative.  In this variation of a brow lift to treat a migraine Botox is first injected into suspected trigger points in the patient’s forehead, temple or back of the head. The surgeon and patient then wait to see if migraine pain is kept at bay. The Botox procedure is repeated until the trigger points are correctly identified. Once the trigger points have been identified, the plastic surgeon then removes the problematic nerves.  Some potential risks include infection or reduction in facial movement.

If you are looking for a long-term solution from chronic pain, migraine plastic surgery is not the only option.  Another long-lasting, drug-free solution is the Omega™ migraine procedure.  Unlike plastic surgery, it is adjustable and reversible.

When considering which migraine treatment may be best for you — whether it is treating your migraine with Botox or a surgical procedure, make sure you consult a board-certified specialist in interventional pain management.

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