Chronic Migraine, Treatment

Surgery for Migraine and Headache: Does it Work?

Nerve stimulation, nasal surgery/septum repair, cutting muscles in the forehead and PFO closure are the surgeries commonly mentioned as headache treatments. A lot of press coverage doesn’t necessarily equal efficacy. They are all still in early phases of clinical trials. Recent opinions I’ve come across aren’t encouraging.

I’ve had two of the four — an occipital nerve stimulator and nasal surgery — and don’t intend to try a surgical treatment again. Neither surgery was effective for me and I sometimes wonder if the nerve stimulator made my migraines worse.

Surgery is so commonplace that it is normal to consider it as a remedy for so many illnesses. No matter that general anesthesia is always risky and there’s a potential for complications — including that it may worsen the condition. Not to mention that its expensive and invasive and may not even work.

I’m not saying that because my surgeries were unsuccessful yours will be too. I do caution you to take it slowly. Research the procedure as much as you possibly can. Ask your doctor every question that you have, no matter how silly or small it may seem. This is your body. The doctor may have the expertise, but you are the only one who really knows yourself.

If you have the slightest inkling of discomfort with your doctor, find someone else. If he or she tells you in your first appointment that surgery is just the thing for you, find someone else.

Although surgery may feel like your last hope, it rarely is. Few people have truly tried everything. If multiple doctors say you’ve tried everything, it’s time to get on the internet and learn what else is out there. Online forums are a great place to start. (I’m partial to The Daily Headache’s online support group and forum, but there are lots of good ones.) Maybe you’ll discover that you have tried everything; maybe you’ll find a not-so-well-known treatment works for you.

3 thoughts on “Surgery for Migraine and Headache: Does it Work?”

  1. Hi Adrian, i believe we can stop all or most of your headaches. I would recommend a work up at one of the surgeons that can be found on the registry of migraine surgeonson line. I have been doing this surgery for 10 years and trained with Dr Guyuron. I was a faculty member again at the sixth anual migraine surgery symposium this past weekend in Cleveland with Dr Guyuron. Please consider seeing one of us that has been foing this a while. Best of wishes to you. Dr B

  2. im 25 years old and i have cronic daily migraines. iv been dealing with this since i was 8 years old . i started going to a neurologist 7 yr ago and they have told me nothing , just six months ago they found brain lesions on my MRI scan they found alot of them and they wont do any thing about it . i just got a MRI scan about two weeks ago and theres more brain lesions , and they still say they cant do any kind of surgery to help me or take these nasty painful daily migraines away. all they do is keep putting me on medication that doesnt work and im becoming a lab rat i dont know what else to do i need some help its to the point its effecting my marriage and my body . iv suggested to them they should do some kind of surgery but they just wont can some one help me im sick of being a lab rat in taking so many different medications that dont work help!!!

  3. My 16 yeard old daughter had a headache that developed into a constant 24/7 headache for 10 months. She saw a local neurologist, was a patient at the Daimaond Headache Clinic in Chicago and was eventually treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. All these efforts led to no relief. Fortunately, due to a story about peripheral nerve decomression surgery in the internet, my daughter is well on her way to a full recovery. She had frontal nerve decompression on 6/29/2011. This relieved 70% of her pain. She will have temporal nerve surgy in December to , hopefully, take care of the rest of the headache. This has been a life changing procedure for my daughter. Her full sotry is at

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