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Plastic Surgery Technique Might Ease Migraines
Date:7/31/2009

oved the frowning muscles. That's why they look better, more cheerful," explained Dr. Bahman Guyuron, lead author of the study and professor and chairman of the department of plastic surgery at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

Those with temple headaches underwent an operation on a small nerve, which also lifted their eyebrows.

And, for those with a back-of-the-head trigger, Guyuron replaced a small amount of muscle around the occipital nerve with fatty tissue to shield the nerve from being squeezed by the muscle.

After one year, almost 84 percent of patients receiving actual surgery reported a reduction in migraines of 50 percent or more while slightly more than 57 percent said that their migraines had completely disappeared, versus 57.7 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively, in the sham group.

Some patients did experience temporary numbness in parts of the face, said Guyuron, but it usually went away.

"One thing that's impressive is the migraine-free rates," Lipton said. "The other thing that was impressive is they did a year of follow-up. Usually, everything is placebo-responsive but those responses are usually short-lived. A year is really impressive."

Guyuron believes the procedure, which he has already performed on more than 400 individuals, could benefit a wide range of migraine sufferers. "It really is not invasive surgery. It takes about an hour to do the operation for each trigger site, three-and-a-half hours is the maximum," he said. "They go home right after the surgery and go back to work within a week."

But Lipton wants to see another study, and feels surgery should be reserved for the most intractable cases.

"This is obviously not for everyone. This is for people who are really suffering, who've had adequate trials of medical therapy and who have an identifiable trigger point and get better following a Botox injection," Lipton said. "There are
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