Docs Urge Caution on Plastic Surgery for Migraines

Plastic surgery may not help majority of migraine sufferers
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2009 12:52 PM CDT
Docs Urge Caution on Plastic Surgery for Migraines
Plastic surgeon Greg Mackay performs surgery at Children's Health Care of Atlanta Tuesday, April 10, 2007 in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The New York Times weighs in today on the recent study that showed plastic surgery to be effective in curing, or at least cutting the frequency of, migraine headaches. Headache specialists are intrigued but concerned that even if they're not good candidates, patients will rush to have the forehead lifts, which are thought to relieve pressure on nerves that trigger migraines. The procedure is appropriate only for those whose points of irritation have been identified and have responded to Botox treatments.

Roughly 150 surgeons have been trained in the procedure by the study's lead author, and others are refining their own technique.“Folks who are appropriate for this procedure—they are the tip of the iceberg, not the vast majority,” says one of the authors. The researchers urge caution. “I don’t want us to overshoot and start doing widespread surgeries in not very well selected patients until we are convinced this is broadly effective,” a headache doc stresses. “You can always stop a medication but you can’t reverse a surgery.” (Read more migraines stories.)

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