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Face Lifts for Migraine?

Botox® injections, which are commonly used to reduce facial wrinkles, are also used by some doctors to temporarily reduce migraines. Now a plastic surgeon writes in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery that using surgical procedures that work similarly to Botox could potentially reduce or even eliminate some migraines.

Bahman Guyuron, MD, of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and two neurologists identified migraineurs with migraine trigger sites in their foreheads by seeing if they responded positively to Botox injections. They then randomly assigned 75 of these migraine sufferers to receive either real surgery (in which nerves were cut at the trigger sites) or sham surgery.

After a year, 83% of those who received the real surgery reported at least a 50% reduction in migraines compared to 57% of those who received the sham surgery. And 57% of those in the real surgery group reported that their migraines had been completely eliminated, compared to just 4% of the placebo group.

“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 Dr. Guyuron.

Dr. Guyuron noted that the surgery is not a good option for patients with infrequent migraines or who respond to preventive treatments, and estimated that only between 10% and 15% of migraineurs would be good surgical candidates.

Because the procedure is experimental, it should only be done in an FDA-approved clinical trial.

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