Surgery for Migraine in Adults

If treatments such as medication or regular Botox® injections do not alleviate migraine pain, plastic surgeons at NYU Langone can discuss whether surgery may be an option for you. Anecdotal evidence suggests that peripheral nerve decompression surgery may benefit some people with migraines that do not respond to other treatments. However, these results have not yet been confirmed by a large clinical trial.

Surgery may be appropriate for people who typically have migraine episodes more than 10 days each month and tend to feel pain in 1 or 2 specific areas—for example, over 1 eye and in the temple on the same side of the head. These types of migraines often arise from nerve compression or vascular compression, which is the compression of blood vessels.

This type of surgery is performed on an outpatient basis in your doctor’s office. It usually requires only local anesthesia or light sedation.

The surgeon may gently move the muscle or tissue surrounding the affected nerve. He or she may also eliminate nerves or blood vessels that are not necessary for healthy functioning. This releases pressure on the nerve, potentially eliminating migraine pain.

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