Surgical Treatment of Migraines

Why Migraine Surgery Works

Dr. Mark and Chris Khorsandi, are both board certified surgeons who are dedicated to the advancement of the field of migraine surgery.

Migraine surgery is effective because unlike any other modality, it goes to the source of the problem. Surgery decompresses the nerves in a person’s head and helps to relieve the pain.

Guide to Surgery

It Could be the Solution You’ve Been Looking For

Every year 30 million Americans suffer from continuous, severe migraines, and this leads to an astounding $13 billion spent on headache treatments. People are desperate for remedies that can control or at least improve their headaches (if a permanent cure is not available).

People also want to get rid of drugs that have aggravated their symptoms rather than cured them. Drugs meant for controlling migraines carry heavy side effects and if used excessively, they can cause transformed migraines. A transformed migraine is more frequent than a typical migraine, and it is commonly unresponsive to medications.

Surgeons and migraine experts have come up with two important surgical methods that are thought to be able to control migraine headaches. And though they may not completely eliminate pain, these surgical procedures have long-term benefits. Before you go in for surgery to cure your migraines, understand the fact that it is not a guaranteed permanent fix. Your headaches may still occur, but they will generally happen less frequently and with less intensity.

Surgical Decompression of Migraine Trigger Regions

Common trigger areas include the forehead, the nasal region, the area behind the eyes and also the back of the head or neck. Surgical migraine treatments now focus on decompressing trigger area nerves that cause migraines in severe sufferers. BOTOX® injections may be a treatment option if the forehead or back of the head is a trigger area. Previously, plastic surgeons serendipitously discovered that certain cosmetic procedures could relieve migraines. After years of clinical research, it was proven that surgical treatment of migraines can be effective.

The trigeminal nerve located in the temporal region of the forehead is decompressed if the migraine occurs at the temple area. The trigger area for an occipital migraine is the back of the head or neck. A small muscle is removed and peripheral nerves in that region are decompressed. For migraines caused by areas behind the eyes, septoplasty may be considered. In this way any trigger area that causes migraines is successfully pacified. BOTOX® acts as a therapeutic and diagnostic tool when evaluating migraine patients for surgery.

Long-Term Benefits


As reported in the American Society of Plastic Surgery, Dr. Bahman Guyuron, M.D. released an article that proved 90 percent of migraine surgery patients reported relief that continued on at five years. Approximately 30 percent had complete resolution.

Migraine attacks were less frequent after surgery. According to the article, average frequency dropped from about 11 to four per month. When attacks occurred, they didn’t last as long–the average duration decreased from 34 to eight hours.

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Migraine surgery video

Risk Factors

The risk to benefit ratio should always be considered. Complications include, but are not limited to: Bleeding, infection, scarring, continued headaches, numbness of the scalp, inability to frown, asymmetry of the forehead, pain, hematoma, eye swelling, bruising and ecchymosis.