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What is the Recovery Time for Migraine Surgery?

Posted by Migraine Relief Center on Feb 13, 2014 7:00:00 AM
Surgical procedures to bring relief to patients who suffer from the debilitating headaches brought on by chronic migraines have been making news headlines over the last few years. The number of migraine patients in the United States has been climbing steadily over the last few years, and with more than 30 million Americans affected by this condition, migraine surgeries are now increasingly being considered as a treatment option. surgery recovery

Since the medical community has not yet determined that migraine conditions actually have a permanent cure, these surgical procedures are sometimes regarded as desperate therapies. Migraine surgeries are not normally covered by medical insurance policies, and they are often very costly; their high rate of success, however, makes them very enticing.

Recovery Time and Convalescence

Migraine surgeries are not for everyone. Physicians can determine if a patient is a good candidate by applying Clostridium botulinum (Botox) injections to certain anatomic trigger points located in the head and neck. Even after a patient has been determined to be a good candidate, relief may not come immediately. A very small percentage of patients who undergo surgical procedures to treat migraine may not see significant improvement.

These surgical procedures are not terribly invasive and may be performed on an outpatient basis. The level of discomfort and the length of time each patient will need for recovery will depend on the number of nerves decompressed by the surgeon. These are mostly facial procedures, so the majority of patients should expect some discomfort, which can be alleviated by taking medications to treat pain and nausea.

When migraine surgeries are scheduled in the morning, patients are advised to sleep through the afternoon. Even if only a couple of facial nerves were decompressed during the procedure, patients should spend the two days following the surgery in a state of relaxation. This means no physical exertion and plenty of bed rest. In fact, most patients should not perform any exercise that is more intense than walking for at least two weeks.

Patients do not have much to worry about with regard to the incisions made during the surgical procedure. These are typically hairline incisions that will not cause too much pain; however, patients must keep in mind that some of their nerves have been manipulated, which means they should expect to feel a bit awkward in the beginning.

General Precautions After Migraine Surgery

Patients are advised to get as much rest as possible and stay out of the sun for the first five days after migraine surgery. They should also refrain from drinking alcohol. Stitches remain for about a week; patients should keep the incision area clean and dry at all times. When patients venture out into the sun after five days, they should wear sunglasses.

For the vast majority of patients, headache relief is immediate. Some may feel a migraine episode occur for just a few minutes and then never experience it again. Even when facing light and scent triggers, most post-op migraine surgery patients will not experience a full episode.

*Image courtesy of

patient guide to surgery


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Topics: Migraine, Treatment

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