Monday, July 7, 2008

Bad Plastic Surgery Can Really Give You A Headache, But Can A Cosmetic Procedure Cure Chronic Migraines?

Cosmetic Surgery Procedure May Offer Relief For Chronic Migraines
Millions around the globe suffer from migraines with only temporary relief to be found through pain-relieving medication, but some British doctors have found that removal of a certain muscle, commonly removed to combat frown lines and wrinkles, can offer lasting relief.

The muscle in question is called the corrugator muscle that lies between the branches of a nerve. When the muscle is removed, so is the pressure placed on the nerve and patients often report a more permanent relief of their formerly chronic migraines.

"We discovered that when taking out this particular muscle, there were over the years more and more patients who told us that, ‘By the way my migraine had improved,’" said Professor Thomas Muehlberger.

Although the phenominon of this particular procedure was discovered in the US, Eurpoean doctors were the first to offer it on a widespread basis. A new clinic has just opened in London to offer the procedure specifically for the treatment of migraines - with the bonus of its cosmetic benefits.

The procedure might not work for everyone, so a prospective patient must first receive an injection of Botox to paralyze the muscles. If the patient notices relief of their migraines after a few weeks, then the surgery to remove the muscle may move forward.

Although multitudes of patients have applauded the procedure for the comfort it offers, doctors in the US aren't completely sold on the idea. Part of the argument against the procedure to remove the muscle is the fact that Botox, the first step in qualifying a patient as a candidate, is commonly administered in a very wide area across the forehead; therefore, there is no clear way to determine whether relief from the initial Botox can be extended by removal of the corrugator muscle. Nevertheless, small studies conducted in the US have met with success.

If success in larger studies occurs, we could see this procedure across the pond quite soon.

For an individual patient's account of this procedure, please see our follow-up post.

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