Migraine surgery may be an effective treatment for patients whose symptoms do not respond to medications or other interventions. The Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery’s Migraine Surgery Program offers novel surgical procedures to treat migraine headaches.
Long-Term Relief From Migraine Symptoms
Researchers have found that sensory nerves in the face and neck can sometimes trigger migraines and neuralgias. Once these nerves are irritated or stimulated in some way, they can trigger a chain reaction culminating in a migraine attack.
Surgical treatment can provide a long-term solution for patients who are severely or chronically affected by migraines. A recent Mass General study shows significant migraine symptom relief more than 90% of the time for patients that underwent nerve decompression migraine surgery.
During surgery, we use minimally invasive techniques to decompress nerves irritated by surrounding tissue. Depending on where the pain is triggered, we release nerves in the region of the eyes and forehead, as well as on the back of the head. If necessary, we may address nasal trigger points through septoplasty, a surgical procedure for repairing deviated septum.
What to Expect
Patient InstructionsView instructions related to this treatment program:
If you would like to be considered for migraine surgery at Mass General, you must first:
- Be seen by a neurologist and diagnosed with migraine disease
- Report side effects or unsuccessful results from other treatment options
- Obtain a referral from your neurologist for evaluation for surgical treatment
During your consultation, the surgeon will review your medical history and treatment goals. Treatment options, including risks and benefits, will be discussed in detail. Photos may also be necessary. We also ask that you bring a list of medications, vitamins and herbal supplements that you take, along with information on dosages.
We may share before-and-after photos to demonstrate the benefits of various surgical options. Our goal is to give you a realistic picture of what to expect so that you can make an informed decision. We also review what's involved in any surgery, including:
- Use of anesthesia
- Hospital care
- Postoperative recuperation
- Anticipated results
Migraine surgery typically takes an hour or two. The simpler forms of this procedure may take place in an office setting, while migraines sparked in the septum or occipital nerve are addressed in the operating room. All patients can go home the same day.
Most patients return to work in about a week. You may experience relief from migraine symptoms immediately after surgery or in up to four weeks.
A headache is pain or discomfort in the head or face area.
The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.
Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital are using leading-edge techniques such as nerve decompression to treat migraines.
Dr. Jay Austen, Jr, Mass General’s chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery, is using leading-edge techniques such as nerve decompression to help those who suffer from the most debilitating of these headaches.
Massachusetts General Hospital's Dr. Jay Austen is using plastic surgery techniques in a first of its kind treatment for migraines.
W.G. (Jay) Austen Jr., MD, Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses how a plastic surgery procedure done at Mass General provides treatment for migraines.
Dr. Jay Austen, Jr, Mass General’s chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery, uses plastic surgery techniques to decompress nerves that trigger debilitating migraines.
Division of Plastic and Reconstructive SurgeryWang Ambulatory Care Center 435
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114, USA
We are also located at:
102 Endicott Street
Danvers, MA 01923
The Mass General Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is located in the Wang Ambulatory Care Center at 15 Parkman St. Parking is available in the Parkman St. and nearby Fruit St. and Yawkey Center garages. Please note that some GPS systems do not recognize the 15 Parkman St. address. If you use a GPS system to drive to Mass General, enter Blossom St. as your destination, and then turn onto Parkman directly from Blossom.