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What Are the Risks of Migraine Surgery?

Posted by Migraine Relief Center on Mar 18, 2014 7:00:00 AM

For many people who suffer from migraines, surgical treatment is looking more and more promising each day. Most patients who undergo surgical procedures to treat their migraine conditions report long-term relief and virtually no complications. As with any other surgical procedure, however, patients should remember that migraine surgeries may involve a certain amount of risk. Migraine_Surgery

The migraine surgery technique has been adapted from a procedure used by cosmetic surgeons. It is not a very invasive procedure, but there are a number of specific and general risks to consider. The specific risks include:

  • Potential Nerve Injury - Patients can expect some level weakness and stiffness in their facial tissue after a migraine surgery. For most patients, this is only a temporary condition.
  • Ptosis of the Eyebrow - Patients who experience a permanent sagging in their brows may have to submit to remedial surgical procedures.
  • Diminished Range of Motion - Some patients may feel as if their ability to move their eyebrows around decreases significantly after migraine surgeries. In some cases, the tissue areas where incisions were made could sink a bit, but this is a cosmetic issue that can be remedied.
  • Hair Loss - Some patients will forever lose hair surrounding the immediate area of the incisions; other patients will see their hair grow back after a while. These incisions, however, are very small in proportion to the head, neck and facial areas.
  • Dry and Irritated Eyes

As with many other surgical procedures, migraine surgeries may present the following general risks:

  • Slow healing times in patients who take certain medications or who are diabetics. Smokers may also heal more slowly than other patients.
  • Post-surgical swelling and puffiness around the incisions.
    Infections, scarring and bleeding conditions after migraine surgeries can be expected after any surgical procedure that involves opening the skin with incisions. These conditions are typically mild, but they should be treated immediately and can be prevented with proper management.
  • Temporary changes in sensation and sensitivity typically last as long as bruising and swelling are experienced.
  • Wound separation may occur in some patients. Surgeons may use different wound closure techniques such as deep or superficial suturing to prevent wound separation, and there is also a chance that these sutures may become irritated.
  • The risks of shock, allergic reactions, complications due to anesthetics, and potential cardiopulmonary issues are present in all surgical procedures. Surgeons and their staffs are prepared to handle these potential issues at the emergency level, but further complications may require hospitalization.

Expectations of Elective Surgery Procedures

Physicians who treat migraine patients with surgical procedures often evaluate candidates through applications of botulin toxin, known as Botox injections. In general, migraine patients who react positively to Botox treatments are considered to be good candidates for surgical procedures that can provide long-term relief to their headaches conditions.

Even after reacting positively to Botox, some patients may not experience the relief they expect after migraine surgery. Patients should not expect a complete cure. As with many other surgical procedures, guarantees should not be implied.

*Photo courtesy of

patient guide to surgery


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Topics: Migraine

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