Relieving Migraines With Botox Or Surgical Decompression

Submitted by: Phillip Dye

Many people suffer from migraines that affect very specific nerves and muscle groups in the face and head. Without using a lot of medical jargon to name all of these areas, suffice it to say that most are very familiar to plastic surgeons. One drug used quite often in cosmetic procedures, Botox, has been proven to be effective at providing more complete relief from the pain of migraines than many other prescription medications.

Botox is a substance that can be poisonous in sufficient quantities. However, in minute quantities, it has been shown to be very effective at relaxing the muscles in the face and head. The primary effect, until now, has been making the person receiving the Botox injections appear younger.

Newer research with migraine patients has shown that Botox injections placed at the trigger points for certain nerves and muscles has the effect of relaxing those muscles and reducing the amount of pressure they exert on these nerves.


Based on these results, doctors are now looking at different methods of surgically resecting some of these muscles in order to reduce pressure on the nerves. This process can be done endoscopically or by a direct route through the upper part of the eyelid for some of the nerves involved in these migraines.

In clinical trials of both procedures, patients have found the surgical approach to provide more relief from the pain of migraine than the Botox injections alone. Even those who say that the injections provided the same amount of relief report that they would still have the surgery, because it provides longer term relief.

One interesting note on these procedures is that the nerves groups involved are so particular that the Botox injections are a means to screen patients to determine whether the surgical decompression of the nerves by resecting the muscles would even be an option for providing them with any relief.

Not all migraine sufferers could expect to benefit from this type of treatment. Of the ones who do, over 90% say that the relief is far more than that provided by prescription medications aimed at controlling and relieving migraine pain.

A neurologist must examine the patient and determine which specific nerves are triggered by the onset of a migraine attack. He then sends possible candidates for surgical decompression to a plastic surgeon who administers the Botox injections to the prescribed sites.

Patients who receive substantial relief are then referred back to the neurologist for evaluation to see if the surgery is an approach the patient can benefit from. If the answer is yes, the patient then chooses whether or not to allow the surgical decompression of the trigger nerves. Botox is not only used to improve the appearance of youthfulness in the wealthy anymore.

It has found its way into the treatment of migraine pain for sufferers who are not receiving adequate relief or control of symptoms with other medications. It is also being used to screen patients to determine if they can expect any long term relief from migraine pain by having surgical decompression done on the trigger nerves.

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