A New Treatment for Migraines?

November 11, 2009
MD Magazine® Staff

New research from a plastic surgeon reveals that migraine sufferers may have another treatment option—surgery.

With over 30 million Americans suffering from migraines, healthcare professionals are constantly searching for new alternatives to eliminate the disabling pain for patients. New research from a plastic surgeon reveals that migraine sufferers may have another treatment option—surgery.

At the recent American Society of Plastic Surgeons annual meeting in Seattle, Bahman Guyuron, MD, chairman of Plastic Surgery at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and an internationally recognized leader in the field of plastic surgery, presented new 5-year data showing that surgery could potentially present a cure for migraines.

During his research, Guyuron followed 79 migraine sufferers for at least 5 years after they had undergone migraine “trigger sites” detection and surgery. Following the surgery, 10 of the patients were removed from the analysis because they needed more surgeries for newly detected trigger sites. Of the remaining 69 patients, the following results were found:

• 61 patients maintained initial positive response to the surgery

• 20 patients reported elimination of migraines entirely

• 41 patients noticed a significant decrease

• 8 patients experienced <50% improvement or no change

These results have shown that migraine sufferers may be helped with surgery—more specifically, surgical manipulation of 1 or more migraine trigger sites can eliminate or reduce the frequency, duration, and/or intensity of migraine headaches. “Migraine headaches are extremely disabling and this surgical option offers hope for migraine sufferers,” says Guyuron.