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

Surgery for Migraines Looks Promising

Migraine Headaches Eliminated or Improved With New Surgery
WebMD Health News

Dec. 30, 2004 -- New surgical procedures are offering relief from debilitating migraine headaches, research shows.

The new surgical techniques were inspired by an unexpected side effect to facial plastic surgery - specifically, a forehead rejuvenation procedure. The report appears in the January issue of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Patients undergoing the plastic surgery technique, which involves cutting muscle in the forehead, reported that their migraine headaches disappeared, writes researcher Bahman Guyuron, MD, professor of plastic surgery with Case Western Reserve University and the American Migraine Center.

Based on that pattern, Guyuron and colleagues designed two surgical techniques specifically designed to identify migraine trigger points and treat migraine headaches. Their current study offers a report on the patients' outcomes.

Migraine Headaches Under the Knife

Of the 125 migraine headache sufferers in his study, 100 got surgery and 25 got no treatment for comparison. Starting months before surgery, patients were injected with Botox to determine which muscles in the forehead or the back of the head triggered their migraines. If the injections resulted in improvement of the migraine frequency or duration, these muscles were surgically removed.

Both groups of patients kept diaries of their migraines, medical costs, and sick days off work for the entire one-year study.

The surgery group had the best results:

  • 92% of patients had at least a 50% reduction in migraine frequency, duration, or intensity. Of that group, 35% reported elimination of migraine headaches and 57% reported improvement. Only 15% of comparison patients reported good results during the one-year follow-up.

  • Out-of-pocket expenses for migraine headache care also changed dramatically. The surgery group paid $925 for medications during the first year after surgery, compared with an average $7,612 annual cost before surgery. The comparison group paid an average of $5,530 annually.

  • Surgery patients also called in sick less often because of migraine headaches. They had 73% fewer sick days than comparison patients.

"Before surgery, my patients expressed extreme frustration by not being able to gain control of their lives," says Guyuron in a news release. "They wanted to work or spend time with their family. Through our new surgical discoveries, we are able to help the appropriate patients escape the awful effects of migraines and start living their lives again."

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