About 40 million people in the United States suffer from migraine headaches (that’s about 13% of the US population.) They affect three times more women than men. Some of these headaches are so frequent and so debilitating that the headache sufferers (migraineurs) are severely disabled. They are unable to work, they are unable to have meaningful relationships with loved ones, and quite simply, they are unable to enjoy life as they would like to. These people usually undergo multiple different treatments that include years of costly medications, nerve blocks, and BOTOX® injections. Research suggests that around 80% of patients experience significant to complete relief of symptoms when treated with BOTOX® or surgery.
To find out more about Migraine Surgery at Lexington Plastic Surgery, PLLC, request a consultation or call (859) 279-2111.
- Marked improvement in headache symptoms
- Enhanced quality of life
- Eliminates the need to continue paying for costly medical therapies
- If the affected nerves are over the eyes, a smoother, more youthful appearing forehead is a potential side effect of the surgery
You and Dr. Gerstle will have a thorough conversation about your medical history, the pain, location, and quality of headache symptoms you experience. You will also discuss the therapies you’ve tried so that Dr. Gerstle can learn what has or has not worked for you. As well, you will both review your previous evaluation from your neurologist and the referral recommending surgical treatment.
If you and Dr. Gerstle agree that you are a candidate for surgical treatment then you will proceed with the minor operation in an outpatient surgical center. Depending on what you need to have done, the operation may take anywhere from two to four hours under general anesthesia. If your headaches originate in the forehead/brow region, the corrugators and supercilli muscles are removed by small incisions over the eyelids. These muscles are involved in creating a frowned appearance, therefore, a potential side effect is decreased frown lines and a smoother forehead. If the headaches are affecting the temporal or side of the head regions, the zygomaticotemporal muscles are released via small incisions at the hairline. When headaches involve the occipital or back of the head region, the lesser and/or 3rd occipital nerve is released through small incisions made at the back of the hairline. Because every patient and their symptoms are unique, occasionally other nerves of the head will need to be released.
Most patients go home after spending a few hours in the recovery room and follow up with Dr. Gerstle the next day. Relief of migraine symptoms may happen immediately following surgery or within a month. Dr. Gerstle is always available by cell phone or email for any immediate questions or concerns.
Is Migraine Release surgery covered by my insurance?
Working with insurance companies can be a struggle regardless of a patient’s medical issues. Due to the fact that this surgery is state-of-the-art, some insurance providers do not consider the surgery a covered service. However, the more popular the technique becomes, the more insurance companies are starting to reimburse. If you and Dr. Gerstle think you might be a candidate for the procedure, everyone at Lexington Plastic Surgery will do our best to help you work with your insurance company to help you get the relief you seek. At this time, however, many patients elect to pay “out-of-pocket” for the service.
Will I be symptom free after the procedure?
Of those patients who undergo BOTOX® or surgical release, 80% report symptom improvement ranging from decrease in intensity or frequency of headaches to a complete cure. It is impossible to know who will be completely symptom free, or how much of an improvement in symptoms can be expected for an individual, but certain factors such as anatomy, response to therapeutic BOTOX®, and other medical problems can help you and Dr. Gerstle devise a reasonable expectation for your situation.
What is the recovery time after the procedure?
Most patients return home a few hours after surgery and take it easy for about a week afterwards. Some bruising and swelling is to be expected for the first two to six weeks. You may return to work in about a week, and should avoid vigorous activity and sports for at least six weeks.
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