Migraine headaches are a surprisingly common and profoundly debilitating ailment that affects approximately 1 in 8 Americans. Numerous medical therapies exist, and people often seek care from their primary care provider or a neurologist. Up to one-third of patients can fail medical therapy for migraine headaches and should be evaluated for potential extracranial nerve compressions as a potential cause for their pain. At UVA Plastic Surgery, Dr. Black is highly experienced in the surgical treatment of refractory headaches in Charlottesville and Fishersville to give patients from Richmond, Roanoke, and surrounding areas lasting relief and a renewed quality of life.
Migraine Surgery Surgeons
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BOTOX Injections for Migraine Headaches
BOTOX® Cosmetic was FDA approved in 2010 for the treatment of chronic migraines with very positive results. Patients must be at least 18 years old to receive BOTOX treatments. These injections work proactively to temporarily relax the muscles that cause migraine headaches. The surgeon injects BOTOX with a tiny needle into specific points on the forehead, scalp, and neck muscles. This can be guided by where the patient identifies their source of pain. Treatments must be repeated every 12 weeks. Botox can also provide a useful guide to whether surgery would be a potential option for those who fail medical therapy.
Surgery for Migraine Headaches
Surgical migraine treatment aims to release tethered facial and scalp nerves thought to be responsible for triggering migraine headaches. The surgeon performs this procedure, called surgical nerve decompression, as outpatient surgery using either local anesthetic with IV sedation or general anesthetic. The details of the actual surgery depend on the location(s) of the trapped nerves, which may be in one or more of the following areas:
- Back of the head, where the head meets the neck
- Inside the nasal passages
This incredibly effective treatment works well for properly chosen patients whose migraines are not controlled by other medical therapies.