Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Migraines & Headaches Health Center

Font Size

Plastic Surgery for Migraines?

High Success Rate Claimed for Controversial Approach
WebMD Health News

Oct. 28, 2003 -- Plastic surgery can relieve migraine headache pain, a controversial study suggests.

The technique could help at least half of all migraine sufferers, claims Bahman Guyuron, MD, clinical professor of plastic surgery at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Guyuron is medical director of the Zeeba Ambulatory Surgery Center in Lyndhurst, Ohio. Last year, he launched the American Migraine Center to offer surgery to migraine patients.

"We were encouraged by our previous pilot study, but the feedback from this study was overwhelming," Guyuron says in a news release. "We had patients whose lives were continually hampered by migraine headaches who now can perform at work and freely live their lives."

The current findings come in his presentation to Plastic Surgery 2003, the annual scientific meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation, and the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons.

From Frown Lift to Migraine Treatment

Guyuron says his discovery of the surgical technique came after several patients who had forehead lifts reported migraine relief. This led him to the theory that many migraine patients have one or more of four "trigger points." Muscles that contract around nerves in the face, he suggests, trigger a domino effect that results in migraine pain.

There are four of these trigger points, Guyuron says:

  • The forehead. Treatment: Remove frown muscles.
  • The temple. Treatment: Remove small portion of facial nerve in temple region.
  • The back of the neck. Treatment: Remove small portion of muscle, replace with fat to prevent regenerating muscle from pinching nerve.
  • The nose area. Treatment: Straighten septum and remove part or a full length of the turbinates (plates of cartilage in the nose).

To see if surgery might work, Guyuron first uses Botox to paralyze the trigger points. In the current study, 90 of 91 patients went on to surgery after the Botox test. Most were treated at more than one trigger site.

Of the 88 patients -- 82 of them women -- for whom data is available, 83 said they felt better after surgery. More than one in four patients (29.5%) said their migraines completely went away after treatment.

"While we're thrilled that the surgical techniques produced such positive results, the team will continue to research migraine headaches, improve the ways in which we identify trigger sites, and strive to elimination of this condition for the majority of patients," Guyuron says.

Today on WebMD

Business woman with hand on face and eyes closed
What aura looks like, triggers, and more.
woman with migraine
Get the truth about migraines.
headache in the bedroom
Keep headaches from ruining your sex life.
woman with hands on head
Test your knowledge of triggers, types, and more.
woman with migraine
drinking coffee
Migraines Headaches Basics
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Tired young man
spraying perfume
man with a headache
headache in the bedroom