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Migraine Surgery Specialist

Anthony Echo, MD -  - Plastic Surgeon

Anthony Echo, MD

Plastic Surgeon & Reconstructive Surgeon located in Houston, TX

Migraines are a common chronic headache. When medical treatments fail to alleviate migraine symptoms, migraine surgery may be an option. Experienced plastic surgeon and fellowship-trained peripheral nerve surgeon, Anthony Echo, MD, performs migraine surgery. To learn more about the procedure, call the office in Houston Methodist Hospital or the Willowbrook neighborhood of Houston, Texas, or request a consultation online.

Migraine Surgery Q&A

What is migraine surgery?

Migraine surgery is a procedure that aims to reduce or eliminate the frequency, duration, and pain migraine headaches cause. 

Migraines occur from compression or irritation of the sensory nerves or blood vessels around your head. During surgery, Dr. Echo releases these compression points to alleviate your migraines or eliminate them altogether. 

Nerve compression sites are trigger points. You may have one or several trigger points, depending on your symptoms. The most common and main trigger sites are:

  • Frontal (pain above your eyes and/or forehead)
  • Temporal (pain over your temples)
  • Rhinogenic (pain inside your nose that extends behind your eyes)
  • Occipital (pain at the back of your head that radiates across your skull)

You may also have trigger points at less common sites. 

Am I a good candidate for migraine surgery?

Migraine surgery is a highly individualized procedure. Dr. Echo may consider you a good candidate for migraine surgery if:

  • You have a diagnosis of migraines or occipital neuralgia from a neurologist
  • You’ve tried several therapies (e.g., behavioral, medications) without success
  • You’re physically healthy
  • You have realistic expectations

During your consultation, Dr. Echo considers three main components when determining if you're a good candidate for migraine surgery. 

First, he reviews your current and past medical history and determines that none of your prior medication treatments have been successful. Then, he conducts a thorough physical exam focused on headache symptoms and whether peripheral nerve pathology is responsible.

Finally, he reviews your prior diagnostic testing, such as nerve blocks or Botox® injections, to help determine if these have helped in the past. In some cases, he may do a nerve block in the clinic to help determine the nerve involvement.   

At the end of your evaluation, Dr. Echo reviews your options and recommends a course of treatment. This may include likely outcomes of your migraine surgery. 

If Dr. Echo recommends migraine surgery, he determines your trigger points and the number of sites that need addressing. 

How is migraine surgery performed?

During migraine surgery, Dr. Echo uses a staged procedure, which means he only addresses a few trigger points at a time, starting at the trigger points located in the back of your head. He uses this technique to limit post-operative pain and recovery. 

He also uses the staged approach so he can assess the results before proceeding with additional surgeries.  

He performs migraine surgery using general anesthesia. Migraine surgery is an outpatient procedure that takes two to three hours, and Dr. Echo sends you home once you meet discharge criteria. 

Dr. Echo recommends you take it easy for the first two days following migraine surgery. You can also expect to take up to two weeks off from work during the recovery period. 

Dr. Echo performs migraine surgery at the Houston Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center or the Houston Willowbrook Hospital. 

How long does it take to get results from migraine surgery?

It takes about four-to-six months to see the outcome of migraine surgery. During the first few weeks, you may notice a change in the quality of your pain. You may also experience some sensitivity at the site of your incision.

You may experience some bad days during the healing process. However, you have more good days as the weeks pass. The prior headache symptoms usually lessen as the weeks progress. Patients will often have less severe headaches in the future, but will still have the occasional headache that we all get.

To schedule your migraine surgery consultation, call Anthony Echo, MD, or book online today.