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A Combination of Botox and Surgery Cures Migraines

An innovative surgical technique involving Botox brings relief to a long time migraine sufferer//.

Five years ago, Sharon Schafer Bennett suffered from migraines so severe that the headaches disrupted her life, kept her from seeking a job and interfered with participation in her children's daily activities.

Now, thanks to an innovative surgical technique performed by a UT Southwestern Medical Center plastic surgeon who helped pioneer the procedure, the frequency and intensity of Mrs. Bennett's migraines have diminished dramatically – from two to three per week to an occasional one every few months.

The technique – performed by a handful of plastic surgeons in the U.S. – includes using the anti-wrinkle drug Botox to pinpoint which of several specific muscles in the forehead, back of the head or temple areas may be serving as "trigger points" to compress, irritate or entrap nerves that could be causing the migraine.

Because Botox temporarily paralyzes muscles, usually for about three months, it can be used as a "litmus test" or "marker" to see if headaches go away or become less intense while the Botox's effects last, said Dr. Jeffrey Janis, assistant professor of plastic surgery.

If the Botox is successful in preventing migraines or lessening their severity, then surgery to remove the targeted muscle is likely to accomplish the same result, but on a more long-term and possibly permanent basis, he said.

For Mrs. Bennett, the surgery proved to be life-altering. "I can't even begin to tell you what a change this has made in my life," said Mrs. Bennett, 45, a Houston-area resident. "For the first time in years, I can live like a normal human being and do all the normal 'mom' and 'wife' things that the migraines physically prevented me from doing.

My family thinks it's great because they don't have to put their lives on hold numerous times a week because of my migraines. I'm also going
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