How Migraine Surgery Can Relieve You From Chronic Headaches?

Have you ever thought of a migraine surgery? If yes, then for sure, you must have gone through those tough times when you would have felt like your head was about to explode. It is a very sever condition and needs prompt intervention before it gets too late to remedy the situation. Hence, if you are suffering from chronic migraine headaches, then opting for a migraine surgery from an experienced surgeon will be an ideal move.


What is the cause of Migraine surgery?

The aim of a migraine surgery is to reduce the pain duration and frequency. Migraine has connections with compression and irritation of sensory nerves and vessels around the head. Also known as a trigger point, a patient may have one or more of such compression sites. Here are the most common trigger points:

Frontal headache: The pain on the forehead starts above the eyebrows. Surgery here decompresses the peripheral nerves compressed by the muscles present near the eyebrow.
Temporal headache: This pain starts at temples and spreads upwards or downwards close to the ear. The surgery decompresses two nerves in the particular area, usually pressed by the fascia near the temples and temporal vessels.
Rhinogenic headaches: The pain the caused generally due to the enlarged turbinates connected with the nasal septum, initiates behind the eye area.
Occipital headaches: The patient experiences pain at the back of the head or neck that circulates round the skull to the eyes and around it.
Besides, you may encounter severe headaches in other uncommon places.

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Types of Migraine surgery

Two types of migraine surgeries that help in relieving the chronic headache:
1. Trigger site relief
When the arteries expand and the muscles restrict certain nerves resulting in pain, this surgery becomes inevitable. The surgery involves cutting or weakening of the concerned muscles hence resulting in pain relief.
2. Arterial Surgery
One of the major causes of migraine headaches is due to the expansion of arteries. Hence, a surgery can provide relief in these compressions. These arterial surgeries are minimally invasive.
Surgeons decide the type of surgery depending on the kind of pain the patient is going through.

Are you an ideal candidate for migraine surgery?

Migraine surgery varies and is an exclusive procedure for every individual. It depends completely on the symptoms as every individual may have different trigger points. You might be a good candidate for migraine surgery if:
A neurologist has diagnosed you with migraine, as not all headaches are migraine.
The neurologist has also diagnosed you with nerve compressions
You are physically fit and have realistic expectations
You have given positive response to Botox or local anesthesia
Besides, several other factors like failure of medical treatment, side effect of any medications or if the migraine is severe, are also important in deciding your suitability for the surgery.

The procedure for Migraine surgery

Step 1: Anesthesia Use of anesthesia is for patient’s comfort. It can be local or general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. Your surgeon can suggest the best for you.

Step 2: Incision The kind of incision depends on the patients trigger site. If the surgeon suggests an endoscopic approach in case of a frontal trigger then there might be 5 incisions. Likewise, in case of an open approach, you may have 2 incisions near the eye. Here is some more insight on the trigger points:

Temporal trigger point may have 2 small incisions near the hair-bearing temple. To operate the temporal and frontal sites together, the surgeon may use upper eyelid incision. Another option would be to create a separate incision at the temple site. Rhinogenic trigger relies on intranasal findings. Occipital trigger site may have a vertical incision along the midline or a horizontal incision at the back of your head. The surgeon makes both these incisions at the hair bearing area of the scalp.

Step 3: Closing the incisions It involves the use of sutures and skin adhesives to close the incisions. Discuss all the above points with your surgeon before you head for your surgery.


Results to expect from Migraine surgery

After the migraine surgery, the patient may have little or no dressing. The most important area to take care is the swelling and incision part. At times, pain medication becomes necessary for nerves that might undergo irritation post operation. The use of Nerve modulator medications is also prevalent.
The surgeon will provide specific instructions on several aftercare aspects:
How to take care of the surgical spots?
Oral or applicative medications that would help in healing and reducing the risk of infection.
The details of follows up with the surgeon post operation.
Healing will gradually take place within two weeks, as the swelling decreases. In addition, in the same timeframe the person may get back to its routine. Strenuous exercises and excursions are better to avoid during this period.

Botox – The Non-surgical treatment for Migraine

You need to be aware that not all migraines are chronic. A chronic migraine is one where the patient suffers from chronic headache continuously for 15 days or a month. There are specific surgical procedures to cure this condition. In addition, you can also opt for some non-surgical treatments, most common of the being Botox injections. The patient needs to have these injections repeatedly on regular intervals. Botox injections have proved to be quiet effective in relieving migraine pain for many. Still, patients suffering from chronic pain are better to have a surgical procedure for satisfying results.


Migraine is a kind of headache that continues to trouble you for around 2 weeks to even a month. If you are facing severe headaches at regular intervals, chances are higher that you are suffering from any such ailment. Prompt visit to a neurosurgeon is advisable in such case, as delay would only increase your troubles further. The expert will be in a better condition to perform the type of migraine surgery after doing all the requisite tests. Throughout the treatment, you must have positive attitude for recovery and should follow all the aftercare points suggested by the surgeon. Abiding by all the recommendation will help you to ensure speedy recovery.

Dr. Tejinder Bhatti, Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Kulwant S Bhangoo, Plastic Surgeon

The information is being provided by and have no intention to replace the medical advice of your doctor. Please consult your doctor directly for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed by Dr. Tejinder Bhatti, Plastic Surgeon on: 20-JUN-2020