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Plastic Surgery May Alleviate Migraines

August 12th 2009

A surgical procedure resembling a forehead lift may provide relief for people who frequently suffer from migraines.
By Alfi Fernandez

A surgical procedure resembling a forehead lift may provide relief for people who frequently suffer from migraines, according to new study published by the medical journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

The surgery immobilizes muscles that activate trigeminal nerve branches, which are likely the root cause of migraines, according to researchers.

“In this study, we've shown that surgical treatment of migraine headaches is safe, effective, and that this reasonably short operation can have a colossal impact on the patients' quality of life–all while eliminating signs of aging for some patients, too,” said lead author Bahman Guyuron, MD, chairman of the department of plastic surgery at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, according to UPI.

The researchers examined 75 patients in a double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Forty-nine patients received the actual surgical procedure, while 26 patients underwent fake surgery. A year after the study, 57 percent of patients who received the real surgery said their migraine pain had disappeared completely. And 83 percent of patients said their migraine symptoms had been reduced by 50 percent.

“Though one might not think to look to plastic surgeons to treat migraines, we are commonly involved in peripheral nerve surgery and treat nerve-related pain, so this is a meaningful addition to the field of reconstructive plastic surgery,” said Guyuron, according to ScienceDaily. “And I can say that these procedures are the most rewarding for me, because these are the patients that come back and report that their lives have been changed.”

Guyuron has used a modified version of the surgery used in the study to treat over 400 migraine patients during the last 10 years.

An estimated 30 million Americans suffer from migraines.