Migraine surgery may be an effective choice for teens who haven’t gotten relief from standard treatment, a small study suggests.
In the study, researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland reviewed the medical records of 14 patients, with an average age of 16.
In teens with migraine who haven’t responded well to other treatments, “migraine surgery may offer symptomatic improvement of migraine headache frequency, duration and severity in patients with identifiable anatomical trigger sites,” wrote the study’s authors.
However, at least one headache expert questioned the value of the procedure, citing a possible placebo effect.
Results of the study were published in the June issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Migraines are recurring bouts of moderate to severe head pain, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. As many as 8% of children and teens experience migraines, according to background information in the study.
Options for treating migraine in teens include over-the-counter pain relievers, the nasal medication sumatriptan (Imitrex), and a preventive medication called topiramate, according to the study authors. A previous study found that nearly one-quarter of teens treated still had migraines after treatment.
The current study looked at whether or not surgery might be an effective option for these teens.
The surgery involved is actually a plastic surgery procedure that decompresses a nerve or releases a trigger point that is believed to cause the migraine. The surgery was developed after doctors noticed that migraine patients who underwent certain cosmetic procedures, such as a forehead lift, had fewer headaches afterward.
In the study, five of the fourteen patients were free of migraine symptoms after their surgery. For those still experiencing headaches, the average frequency of migraines for the teens over a 30-day period went from 25 to five. The duration and severity of their headaches also decreased. One patient didn’t have improvement in the frequency of headaches, but did have less severe headaches with shorter duration, according to the study.
This is a very aggressive treatment that is not reversible and can have long lasting implications. In my opinion, the study results are not very impressive. The surgery relieved the symptoms of migraine headaches in just over one-third of the patients. That is not the definition of effective treatment.
Many years ago, I randomly recommended vitamin B12 for migraine patients. They reported a minimum reduction in the frequency of migraines of 50% and several patients had complete remission of symptoms with no other adjunctive treatment.
Today, I use the QA (Quintessential Applications) protocol to evaluate the inflammatory pathways of the body as migraine triggers. Vitamin B12 is often implicated as a deficient co-factor. Folic acid and vitamin B6 are also often involved. However, any of the six common inflammatory pathways of the body can be migraine triggers. It is simply a matter of testing the pathways and providing the appropriate nutritional support.
The Bottom Link:
Plastic surgery for teens with migraines, not a chance for my children. If you suffer from migraine headaches seek nutritional evaluation. Honestly, migraines are much easier to evaluate and treat than chronic metabolic issues like diabetes and heart disease.
Source: June 25, 2015 National Institutes of Health