26 October 2009

Surgery may help for migraines

Surgery may be an effective treatment against severe migraines, a disabling condition affecting millions worldwide.


Surgery may be an effective treatment against severe migraines, a disabling condition affecting millions worldwide.

In newly released research, 79 migraine sufferers were followed for at least five years after having undergone detection of migraine "trigger sites" and surgery. The new data finds promising outcomes for treating trigger sites surgically for migraine headaches resulting in elimination of pain for those afflicted with the condition.

Since the surgery, 10 of the 79 patients required additional surgeries for newly detected trigger sites and were eliminated from the final analysis. Sixty-one of the remaining 69 patients (88%) have maintained the initial positive response to the surgery. Twenty patients (29%) reported elimination of migraines entirely, 41 patients (59%) noticed a significant decrease, and only eight patients (11%) experienced less than 50% improvement or no change.

This new data provides strong evidence that surgical manipulation of one or more migraine trigger sites can successfully eliminate (cure) or reduce the frequency, duration, and/or intensity of migraine headaches with lasting results.

"Migraine headaches are extremely disabling and this surgical option offers hope for migraine sufferers," says study author Dr Bahman Guyuron. "Combined with the previous studies, this new five-year data has provided strong evidence that severe migraine headaches and their painful symptoms can be successfully treated with surgery with lasting results."

Forehead rejuvination
The impetus behind Guyuron's migraine headache research projects was his observation close to a decade ago that many patients who had undergone forehead rejuvenation noticed a disappearance in migraine symptoms following surgery.

For patients who suffer frontal migraine headaches, Guyuron removes the corrugator supercilii (frowning) muscle group in the forehead that is suspected to be a trigger point for headaches, compressing nerves and causing nerve inflammation. Temple migraine headaches are treated by removing a small branch of the trigeminal nerve.

For those patients who suffer from occipital (back of the head) migraine headaches, a small piece of muscle encasing the nerve is removed and replace with a soft tissue flap. When the headaches are located behind eyes and are triggered by weather change, he works on the nose septum and surrounding structures. Guyruon has performed more than 1,000 of these procedures on more than 450 patients, since each patient has 2.5 trigger sites in average. - (EurekAlert!, October 2009)

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Headache & Migraine Centre


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Headache expert

Dr Elliot Shevel is a South African migraine surgery pioneer and the founder and medical director of The Headache Clinic in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, South Africa. The Headache Clinic is a multidisciplinary practice dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of Primary Headaches and Migraines. Dr Shevel is also the main author of all scientific publications generated by his team. He recently won a high level science debate in which he was able to prove that the current migraine diagnosis and classification is not based on data. Tertiary Education - Dr Shevel holds both Dental and Medical degrees, and practises as a specialist Maxillo-facial and Oral Surgeon. Follow the Headache Clinic on Twitter@HeadacheClinic.

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