A solution for long-term relief.

If medication or other treatments are effective for your migraines, you probably won’t want to consider surgical intervention. However, for patients who don’t respond well to other treatments, surgery can be the migraine treatment that restores their quality of life. Surgery can provide long-term relief, or possibly even a cure.

How does it work?

Migraines have long been associated with the compression and irritation of key nerves in your face and head. These triggers are chronic, and may have genetic causes—just the way your personal anatomy is put together—or can be the result of changes that take place over time.

Migraine surgery reduces the irritation and compression, either by correcting the tissue surrounding the nerves or by blocking the pain signals.

Types of Migraine Surgery

There are two basic types of surgical treatment for migraine: nerve release and pain blocking.

Migrainewpointer.001The tissue surrounding a nerve—the muscle, fat, or other structures—can impinge or compress the nerve and trigger migraine pain. Since a number of different nerves can be triggers, there are several different types of corrective surgeries. The surgery that will work for you depends on the location of your personal triggers.

  • M.I.S.O.N., or Minimally Invasive Supra-Orbital Nerve. The supraorbital nerve is a network of tiny nerve endings in the forehead. It’s a common site where nerve compression can trigger migraines.
  • M.I.G.O.N.E., or Minimally Invasive Greater Occipital Nerve Entrapment. The greater occipital nerve provides sensation for much of the back and top of the head (and can cause pain as far forward as the eyes). It’s also a common site for migraine triggers.

Both M.I.S.O.N. and M.I.G.O.N.E. surgeries are minimally invasive, performed using HD cameras, and are generally performed as outpatient procedures.

  • Septoplasty, or surgical correction of a deviated septum. The nasal septum is the cartilage that divides the nostrils, and it’s not uncommon for it to be deviated, or bent. That puts pressure on the nerves that pass through it, and can trigger headaches. Septoplasty straightens the cartilage and relieve the pressure.
  • Neurostimulators, tiny electrodes that “override” pain signals. The electrodes are surgically placed under the skin, surrounding the trigger nerve. They’re connected by wire to a battery, also under the skin. The electrodes gently stimulate the nerve, keeping it occupied and preventing the harsher pain signals from getting through to the brain.Initially, your surgeon will do a temporary installation, easily removable, to make sure the treatment will help you. If it prevents your headaches, you’ll get a permanent implant. MRC surgeons work with pain management physicians to place the electrodes, for the best possible results.
  • Nerve block. Unlike the other migraine surgeries, a nerve block isn’t necessarily permanent. It’s simply an injection of local anesthetic and a steroid, directly into the nerve. The anesthetic blocks the pain signals for a period of time, and the steroid works to “calm down” the irritated nerve, sometimes eliminating the need for further treatment. Because the injection into the nerve is painful, nerve blocks are performed under anesthesia.


Your migraine surgical procedure may be covered by your insurance. Some have specific criteria patients must meet, or require documentation that you have gone through other treatment protocols before approving a surgical procedure. Check with your insurance provider to make sure you meet their requirements.

Is surgery right for you?

There are a number of factors to consider in deciding if migraine surgery is your best option.

Your history

Our surgeons will need as much information about all your medical conditions as possible. We’ll need:

  • Medical records from other physicians who have treated you for headaches. If you cannot obtain copies of your records, you can provide a summary of the care you received, including dates, procedures, tests, and medications.
  • Any MRI, MRA and CT scan results, both scans and radiology reports.
  • Our Migraine Questionnaire, which will cover your symptoms, family history, triggers, and any other information you feel will be helpful.
  • Any other pertinent medical records from your neurologist or primary care physician.


Our surgeons will talk to you about your migraines, and your medical history. We’ll examine you to determine if nerve compression is causing your headaches, or if there are other indications that you will respond well to surgical treatment.

Test results

There are treatments that give a temporary version of the relief that surgery would provide, such as BOTOX® or nerve blocks. If you haven’t had such treatment in the past, our surgeons will evaluate whether surgical intervention is an option.

Migraine Diary

After your diagnostic treatment, you’ll need to keep a written record of your symptoms for several weeks. Reviewing this pain diary can reveal how beneficial surgery might be for you. Download the Migraine Diary today.


There are no guarantees for any medical treatment, and every individual case is different, but the surgical treatment MRC offers is especially tailored to reduce the number and severity of your migraines. We can’t promise specific results, but 90% of our patients say their migraines are less frequent and don’t last as long, while 50% say they’re migraine-free within months of their surgery.


Every surgery involves risk. You may experience side effects, and complications are possible. However, MRC’s surgical procedures are minimally-invasive, and our patients’ tend to recovery easily and quickly. If you have any concerns, please be sure to discuss them with your physician.

patient guide to surgery

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