Frequent sufferers will confirm that few things in life can compare with a full-blown migraine, and that relief is often elusive and only partial at best. Alternative treatments are showing signs of promise, however. Migraine surgery is a fairly new option that is gaining ground as an effective treatment for patients when almost everything else has failed. If this describes your situation, you might be a candidate for surgery.
#1: M.I.S.O.N. SurgeryMinimally invasive, supra-orbital nerve surgery is an outpatient procedure to relieve the pressure on the nerves in your forehead. The surgeon makes small incisions above your hairline, which has little or no risk of leaving scars, and uses an endoscopy method to free up constricted areas of the supra-orbital nerve. This reduces inflammation and helps to eliminate the pain of migraine headaches.
The effect of the surgery is similar to that performed on carpal tunnel patients, where the nerves in the wrist become pinched. The benefit for migraine sufferers was discovered when patients found their migraines improved after having brow-lift surgery. Patients go home the same day, and the recovery is typically straightforward and uncomplicated.
#2: M.I.G.O.N.E. SurgeryThis stands for minimally invasive, greater occipital nerve entrapment, and is an outpatient procedure that focuses on relieving compression of the larger nerves at the back of your head. For patients with pain that begins at the base of the skull and spreads along the side of the scalp or is felt behind the eye, release of the occipital nerve can help reduce and often eliminate migraines.
#3: SeptoplastyA septoplasty is a surgical procedure that is carried out to correct a deviated nasal septum, which means one of the nasal passages is out of position. Although this is an outpatient procedure, it usually requires you to have a general anesthetic. The surgeon repositions the nasal passage and may need to trim or remove some of the cartilage in the nose. Once the passage is positioned correctly, you’ll be able to breathe more easily and the pressure on your nerves will be reduced.
#4: NeurostimulationThis method of surgery has been used for the past 40 years to treat conditions such as spinal injuries, back pain and epilepsy. It involves implanting tiny electrodes under your skin around the nerves that are causing your migraine headaches. These are battery-powered to produce gentle pressure, which causes the nerves to stop sending pain signals to your brain. When this method is used in conjunction with surgical decompression of the nerves, it usually has excellent results for pain relief in patients.
#5: Nerve BlocksA nerve block is not exactly surgery, but it’s an outpatient procedure that is also usually done under a general anesthetic. A block is a method of treating migraines by injecting pain medication directly into the nerves causing the headaches. This helps to “block” the amount of information the nerves are able to send to the brain, which reduces the patient’s pain experience.
The effects of a nerve block last longer than regular painkillers, and are ideal for reducing the pain of migraines until preventive treatments kick in. For example, while you are waiting to have one of the forms of nerve surgery, a nerve block will help to prevent the pain of headaches.
Even after surgery, some patients continue to experience migraines for a few months. A nerve block can provide immediate relief while you wait for the treatment to take full effect.
Finding Your Migraine Surgery Option
You don’t have to live with your migraines. Talk to your healthcare provider about the options available for migraine surgery, and consult with a migraine specialist to find out if you’re a candidate for any of these procedures. Take back control of your health and get your life back today!