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Botox and Surgery

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 14 Dec 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Migraines Surgery Botox Botulinum Toxin

You may already be familiar with Botox as a therapy used by plastic surgeons to treat wrinkles and other aesthetic concerns. Touted as a miracle treatment for maintaining youth it was not traditionally used for medical conditions and pain relief. In recent years, however, Botox - formally known as botulinum toxin - has shown success in treating migraines. For individuals who deal with the intense pain of migraines - often daily - the search for effective preventative treatments and pain relief can be exhausting. Migraine headaches tend to be debilitating and can impact work, family, social life and general living. Sufferers often struggle to pinpoint the causes as well as obtain long-term, effective treatment. Now, a technique has been introduced that combines Botox and surgery for significantly improved migraine relief.

How Does it Work?

Botox works for some individuals because it targets muscles around the face that are thought to be triggering migraine headaches. It essentially paralyses the muscles, thereby inhibiting their action and relieving head pain. Botox is often injected into the forehead or may also be injected around the back of the head and in the temple areas. For some, Botox injection alone is sufficient to provide significant migraine relief. For those who have suffered from chronic migraines, however, the relief can be improved and extended through the addition of surgery. Botox itself is not a permanent treatment, although in comparison with medications, which typically require dosing at least once daily, its relief is substantial because it does last for approximately three-months. Side effects are usually mild and infrequent. When they do occur, they tend to be related to irritation at the site of injection.

Why Surgery As Well?

Botox alone is somewhat of a marker. Thus, it can be used to determine if a person is a candidate for surgery. This means that it can indicate if the specific muscles targeted during the injection respond well to the Botox treatment. If they do, then surgery can be used to remove the offending muscle. The benefit to surgery is that the results are long lasting and could potentially be permanent. Therefore, they don't require the repeat treatments that are necessary for Botox treatment. A physician may inject one muscle at a time to observe which ones respond well to Botox treatment. Then, surgery could be discussed if it seems to be an appropriate option for your specific migraine symptoms and pattern. Ultimately, individuals who don't successfully respond to Botox injections are considered unlikely to respond to surgery.

Botox Alone or With Surgery?

Some individuals may prefer Botox alone because it is less invasive than surgery. For these people, repeat treatments may be acceptable for long-term maintenance. Others may find that they seek a more long-lasting solution to their migraines. Ultimately, you should discuss with your doctor whether you are a candidate for Botox treatment and surgery. You can also speak about any concerns you have regarding side effects.

Those who suffer from migraines know that the condition is far more painful than a simple 'headache.' The quest to find an effective treatment or cure is ongoing but for now, Botox and surgery may work together to provide long-lasting pain relief for migraine sufferers.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Thank you for your response. I appreciate you can't make any recommendations however are you able to advise me on how to go about locating specialists?The general medical Council doesn't seem to offer a search facility to enable me to drill down to people with a special interest in occipital neuralgia and / or treatments that they offer. I just don't know where to start to look and just need some guidance please. Thank you in advance.
Sharon - 14-Dec-15 @ 5:52 PM
Sharon - Your Question:
I underwent MVD of the Trigeminal Nerve with in 2008. Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful and I have since been diagnosed with Occiptial Neuralgia. I have been receiving nerve blocks into the ON and steroid injections into my neck and shoulder muscles due to spasms which exacerbate the pain. This treatment has helped reduce my overall pain levels however the effectiveness of these are decreasing and flare ups are becoming unmanageable.I have been reading about the success of decompression of the Occipital Nerve mainly in countries such as the United States. I have been trying to find a specialist in the UK who may offer this type of treatment but I have been on successful. How do I go about finding someone with such a specialist interestI am willing to raise the money to pay privately or be part of any research into ON and this treatment.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear you are suffering. I'm afraid we can't recommend specific centres which may offer treatment. Instead I have included the NHS clinical trials list, which you can access to see whether trials are taking place, please see link here. I hope you manage to find a treatment to relieve your pain soon.
HeadacheExpert - 8-Dec-15 @ 2:02 PM
I underwent MVD of the Trigeminal Nerve with in 2008. Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful and I have since been diagnosed with Occiptial Neuralgia.I have been receiving nerve blocks into the ON and steroid injections into my neck and shoulder muscles due to spasms which exacerbate the pain. This treatment has helped reduce my overall pain levels however the effectiveness of these are decreasing and flare ups are becoming unmanageable. I have been reading about the success of decompression of the Occipital Nerve mainly in countries such as the United States. I have been trying to find a specialist in the UK who may offer this type of treatment but I have been on successful. How do I go about finding someone with such a specialist interest I am willing to raise the money to pay privately or be part of any research into ON and this treatment.
Sharon - 7-Dec-15 @ 7:47 PM
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