While many people still think that migraine pain is the result of swelling and contracting blood vessels in the skull, more and more doctors have concluded that these debilitating headaches are actually caused by certain nerves outside the brain. One particular nerve, called the trigeminal nerve, has a connection to a number of sites around the head where migraine headaches often start. There is a branch above the eyebrows, another near the temple, another inside the nose and another in the back of the neck.
The most common trigger site in migraine is above the eyes. Two specific nerves above the eyes go directly through a set of muscles that can be weakened using BOTOX® or removed altogether through a surgical procedure. Using one of these approaches, headaches for many people will go away and for most will get dramatically better.
With the surgical method, about 1 in 3 patients continue headache free and more than 8 in 10 are dramatically better even after 10 years. “Dramatically better” means that their headaches are at least half as frequent and last half as long. So even among those who do not get complete relief, a vast majority will find their headaches considerably more manageable.
Please Request a Consultation to learn more about migraine surgery. We’re happy to give you more information to see if this treatment option can provide you with lasting relief.
Dr. Pyle’s Personal Experience
Here’s what Dr. Jeremy Pyle has to say about migraines, in his own words: “I get migraines. My grandfather gets them, my mother does, my sisters do. Migraines have been an exceptional pain to my family. Mine usually start in the back of my neck, which gets tight and sore. My sister’s trigger is in her temple and above her eyes, which feels better when she presses with one finger above her eye and her thumb in her temple. When I first heard about a surgical procedure for migraine symptom relief, I was more excited than I have been about anything else in my career. I feel like I understand migraines and what migraine sufferers go through, and I’m excited to offer a surgical solution that is effective for many patients.”
Insurance Coverage & Pricing
As insurance companies tighten their reins, they are less likely to pay for surgery that is not lifesaving. Unfortunately, migraine surgery is in that category. Unless a person gets 14 migraines or more per month while on medications to stop them, insurance companies do not tend to pay for the surgery. For that reason, we have worked hard to develop a reasonable pricing schedule for this operation and the plan of care we go through to get to that point. The costs of migraine surgery are, for most people, far less than you might think. This is especially the case if you factor in the ongoing cost of migraine medicines.
What to Expect
Before surgery is indicated, patients will first receive a series of injections of BOTOX® at one or more of their common trigger sites in order to determine how well symptoms respond to release of the muscles at these trigger sites. People who have a significant reduction in the severity and/or frequency of migraine symptoms following BOTOX® injections generally will be good candidates for the surgical procedure, since surgery permanently relaxes the muscles that BOTOX® treats on a temporary basis.
Migraine surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure with the patient under either sedation or general anesthesia if preferred. The targeted nerves are disconnected from the enveloping muscle, which causes decompression of the nerve. The most typical surgical site is the brow region, where the surgical technique is in many respects similar to a brow lift.
After the Procedure
Very little recovery time is needed after this surgery. You can expect some slight bruising and swelling in the surgical area for about 1 to 2 weeks following surgery. Also note that additional headaches during the recovery period are common, and can be managed with prescription or over-the-counter pain medication. Most of our patients are ready to return to work in just a few days, with full resumption of all their usual activities after about 2 weeks. Decreases in headache intensity and duration are usually seen about 2 to 4 weeks following surgery. Incisions are very small and should heal to be practically invisible.
The New You
How many times have you imagined a life without the pain, nausea and stress that migraines can cause? Migraine surgery offers the opportunity to live a more comfortable life and the possibility of being completely migraine-free.
Davis & Pyle Plastic Surgery in Raleigh welcomes local patients as well as those from all over North Carolina, including Durham, Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Fayetteville, Cary, Apex and Wilson. For more information about migraine treatment through surgery, please don’t hesitate to Request a Consultation, or call us today at 919-785-1220.