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A Potential New Procedure for Migraine Headache Relief

Brow Lift Procedure Used to Help Migraine Sufferers 

No doubt about it, migraine headaches can run—read ruin—someone’s life. That’s why a new procedure is getting a lot of publicity lately.

Some doctors are using plastic surgery as a way to relieve the pain associated with migraine headaches. In one study, two neurologists and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons investigated the effects of a brow lift procedure that included the removal of the migraine-triggering nerve areas. Of the 49 patients who had this procedure, 83 percent said that they were suffering from migraines half as frequently as they did before. More than half of the patients reported that their migraines had been completely eliminated.

The study appears in the August issue of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

The surgery works like Botox injections, now widely used, though not approved, for the treatment of migraines. At the Institute for Advanced Reconstruction, we treat migraine suffers with Botox, as well as, in some cases, a “minimally invasive procedure” – no visible scarring, which involves releasing one or more of the “trigger points” involved in the inflammatory process resulting in migraine.

According to Dr. Matthew Kaufman of The Plastic Surgery Center and The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction in Shrewsbury, NJ, “Botox has been clearly demonstrated as a potentially effective treatment for migraine headaches. It was recently FDA-approved for this purpose, and for many patients, it provides headache relief when other medical therapies have failed. We perform hundreds of Botox injections per year for migraine sufferers at our practice, most of whom have found it to be amazingly successful.”

“Surgical treatment for migraine headaches has been available for the last five years and is usually reserved for patients who have previously benefited from Botox. The results of this minimally invasive procedure have been promising. In our own series of patients who have undergone migraine relief surgery, we have a 75-80% rate of success in reducing or eliminating headache symptoms.”

“A brow lift procedure is a cosmetic surgery intended to elevate the brow position and reduce the lines and furrows of the forehead. The techniques involved in a brow lift do overlap with some of the same steps as those undertaken in migraine relief surgery. Therefore, it is not surprising that patients undergoing browlifts may also find some relief from migraine symptoms. Whether a brow lift procedure can be touted as a treatment for migraine headaches remains to be seen.”