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Surgery Providing Relief For Patients Suffering From Migraine Headaches

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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Migraines

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BOSTON (CBS) – The pain is severe and can come on with little or no warning. Twenty-eight million Americans suffer from migraine headaches.

An increasingly popular surgical option is providing relief for many patients.

Dale Eadeh, a migraine sufferer, said “I couldn’t take the light. I would sit at my desk blinking.” He pointed to areas of his where the pressure would become intense, adding “The pain could come up the whole side of my head. I would stutter.”

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports.

Like many migraine patients, Eadah tried different approaches to get relief. “I went through acupuncture, and epidural spinal injections to block the nerves in my head. I have taken every pill imaginable.”

Botox injections have proven to give some relief to patients, by relaxing muscles in the face and scalp. This provided a clue that another type of treatment might also work.

Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh, a plastic surgeon, explained “If we can go in there with Botox , and relax the muscles around these nerves , are we able to help these patients by taking away the trigger mechanism that puts pressure on these nerves?”

That’s what Dr. Alizadeh proposed to do for Dale Eadeh, but this time he is taking away the trigger with surgery, not more Botox.

This procedure focuses on finding the nerves causing the migraine. Then the surgeon cuts away the muscle compressing or squeezing those nerves.

Dr. Alizadeh added, “If we can go there physically and release these muscles surgically, we can potentially cause a cure for these patients.”

Eadeh had nerves decompressed at the back of his neck, along his temple, and in his forehead.
That was more than a month ago. In that time span, he usually would have had 5-6 migraines. “That’s a week. That’s two weeks. That’s three weeks. That’s a month of no migraines. Phenomenal! I am actually believing now that it’s going to last.”

The exact cause of migraines still isn’t known. It is believed that getting regular sleep can help you avoid them. Certain foods like chocolate, red wine and aged cheese, among others, can also trigger them.
Women are more likely than men to suffer from migraines.

This surgery is available locally at Mass General Hospital.

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