Getting A Head


Migraine, a neurologic disorder characterized by recurrent and debilitating episodes of headache that often present with a variety of other symptoms, affects nearly 35 million Americans, or about 18 percent of women and 6 percent of men.

The debilitating pain caused by migraine can be severe and can last a few hours to a few days. Associated symptoms include nausea, vomiting, photophobia (fear of light) and phonophobia (fear of sound), which can occur with unpredictable intensity and vary from person to person as well as from one attack to the next.

Traditionally, physicians have used only behavioral and pharmacologic therapies to treat patients’ migraine headaches. Despite advancements in both fields, however, many patients remain unresponsive to both forms of treatment.

In the early 2000s, patients who underwent forehead-lift surgery reported significant improvement, if not complete resolution, of migraine headaches. The theory was that nerve compression was a major cause of symptoms associated with migraine.

Today, the California Migraine Surgery Center at FACES+ is one of only a handful of facilities in the world to offer minimally invasive surgery for migraine headache. The procedure provides patients with significant reduction in the frequency, intensity, and duration of migraine attacks, and sometimes complete resolution. It’s not hocus-pocus; it’s the result of Ivy League training, decades of practice and clinical research. For patients, however, the result is pure magic.

The process is elegant but simple. First, the surgeon at Migraine Surgery Center at FACES+ locates a patient’s migraine trigger-point (an entrapped peripheral nerve) during a pre-operative evaluation. Then, through a tiny incision hidden in the scalp, the nerve branch responsible for producing the symptoms is released.

After surgery, patients return home the same day and recovery is generally quick.

If migraines have been affecting your life, a simple surgical procedure may now help you see the light versus hiding from it.