As per a new study, the debilitating pain of migraines may be eliminated with a traditional forehead lift or botox.
For nearly a decade, researchers have been testing the concept that migraines are caused when a person's trigeminal nerve branches are irritated.
When the muscles around these branches are incapacitated, the headaches stop, which is why some patients have found relief from the 'freezing' effect of Botox treatments.
But, according to the new study, removal of these muscles or 'triggers,' offers an easily attainable and permanent fix.
"Nearly one out of four households, including 18 percent of women, suffer from migraines and many patients are not only eager, but desperate to stop the pain. 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 ASPS Member Surgeon and study author Dr. Bahman Guyuron.
In the double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial, researchers from Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland identified the three most common trigger sites, and then randomly assigned 75 patients to either the actual (49 patients) or sham-surgery groups (26 patients).
Then, the patients completed questionnaires and underwent either a real or perceived deactivation operation on their predominant migraine trigger site, which for most patients, was similar to that of a traditional forehead lift.
After a year, 57 percent of the patients in the actual surgery group reported complete elimination of migraine headaches, compared with only 4 percent in the sham surgery group.
Furthermore, 83 percent of the actual surgery group observed at least a 50 percent reduction in migraines. here was a high (57 percent) incidence of symptom improvement in the sham surgery group, which has been similarly reported in other studies and could be attributed to the placebo effect, among other things.
But the researchers have pointed out that the difference in migraine improvement and elimination reported by the two groups was statistically significant.
"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. 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," said Guyuron.
The study has been published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).