Surgery for temporal migraine headache provides excellent headache relief, according to a review study in the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®.

Thirty-six million Americans have migraine headaches, according to the American Migraine Foundation.

The study included 246 patients undergoing surgery for temporal migraine headache performed by Bahman Guyuron, MD, and colleagues of University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland between 2000 and 2011.

Guyuron developed the surgical deactivation approach after noticing that some migraine patients had reduced headache activity after cosmetic forehead-lift procedures. He has developed surgical techniques targeting the muscles or nerves that produce pain in four trigger sites.

In patients with temporal migraine headache, the headaches result from muscle contraction around the temple.

Before surgery, the temporal trigger site was confirmed by testing with Botulinum toxin A or sometimes by specific patterns of symptoms. Most patients also underwent surgery for additional migraine trigger sites at the same time.

Study Results

Temporal migraine surgery was rated successful in 85% of patients, with at least 50% improvement in temporal migraine headache. In 55% of patients, temporal headaches were eliminated completely. Overall, temporal migraine headache frequency was reduced by an average of 68%, headache duration by 41%, and headache severity by 66%. The results were similar regardless of age, sex, or follow-up time. The study also identified several specific temporal migraine headache symptoms and migraine “triggers” included being bothered by light and noise, difficult concentrating, blurring vision, and ptosis.

Migraine triggers that were improved via surgery included letdown after stress, air travel, bright light, loud noises, fatigued, weather changes, and certain smells. Nearly all patients had significantly reduced headache activity, and more than half gained complete relief from temporal migraine headache, the study showed.