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Suffering from Migraine Pain? Learn How Migraine Surgery Can Help

If you’re one of the 39 million Americans who struggle with migraine, you know how serious and incapacitating they can be. Frequent migraines can disrupt your life, causing your work and personal life to come to a halt when they appear. 

At Anthony Echo, MD, with two offices in Houston, Texas, board-certified surgeon Dr. Anthony Echo understands the complicated and debilitating nature of migraine. As part of the comprehensive line of services at our clinic, we’re proud to offer migraine surgery for patients struggling to navigate life with persistent migraines.

If migraine headaches are disrupting your life, here’s what you need to know about cutting-edge migraine surgery.

What is migraine surgery?

Migraine surgery, also known as nerve decompression surgery, works to eliminate or decrease the duration, frequency, and pain of migraine headaches by strategically reducing pressure on the nerves believed to trigger your symptoms. 

When one of the sensory nerves or blood vessels in your head gets compressed, it can trigger migraines. Trigger points are patient-specific, and everyone differs slightly. The main trigger points that commonly affect people include:

Other trigger points exist as well, and one of these less common sites may trigger your migraines. Dr. Echo works to release the compression at these trigger points to eliminate or reduce your migraines.  

What should I expect before, during, and after migraine surgery?

Migraine surgery isn’t for everyone. Patients unable to find relief with migraine medication or alternative treatments or who experience severe side effects may be candidates. If Dr. Echo determines you’re a candidate, here’s what you can expect before, during, and after your surgery.

Before migraine surgery

Dr. Echo must first determine whether you’re a candidate for migraine surgery. This involves evaluating your medical history and history of migraine treatments, a physical exam focused on your symptoms, and a determination of whether your migraines involve peripheral nerve pathology.

If Dr. Echo believes migraine surgery will help you, the next step is to determine your specific trigger points. He also explains the surgery and the results you can expect from the treatment. 

During migraine surgery

Your surgery takes place while you are under general anesthesia, so you won’t experience any pain or discomfort during the procedure. Once you’re asleep, Dr. Echo begins the surgical decompression of your trigger points beginning at the back of your head. 

Rather than address every trigger point during the surgery, Dr. Echo uses a staged approach. This means he only performs surgery on some of your trigger points. The staged approach allows you to see the efficacy of the procedure before undergoing more extensive surgery. It also reduces the time you need to recover and heal.

Migraine surgery takes about 2-3 hours, and you’ll be free to return home after the procedure. Be sure to arrange a ride home from the center, since you won’t be able to drive after general anesthesia. 

After migraine surgery

You should expect some discomfort after surgery. You may have numbness or soreness at the site of the surgery for 1-2 weeks. You may also experience additional migraine headaches during this time, as well as tingling or itching at the site of the nerves, but this resolves as you heal. 

Plan to rest and recover for two days after surgery. Most patients can return to work after about two weeks. During this time you should limit physical activity to enable your body to heal and recuperate. 

It takes time to see the results of migraine surgery. After about 4-6 months, you’ll have a good understanding of how well the procedure worked, though you may notice a change in your pain sooner. Dr. Echo schedules follow-ups at different intervals after your surgery to ensure that symptoms are manageable and assess whether you may benefit from further treatment.

If migraine headache pain has you sidelined from life, contact Anthony Echo, MD, at the Houston location most convenient to you or request an appointment online now to learn if migraine surgery can help.

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