Botox and Surgery
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.