Migraine Surgery Program

Migraine Surgery Program

Massachusetts General Hospital’s Migraine Surgery Program performs innovative surgical procedures to treat migraine headaches.


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. 

Patient Surveys

Please complete the following surveys to help us determine if you are a candidate for migraine surgery at Mass General.

PART 1: Download and complete our migraine pain location survey and email the results to: MassGeneralPlasticSurgery@partners.org. This is an important part of the screening process.

PART 2: Complete our migraine surgery screening survey online 

You may also print and fill out the following surveys, and fax the results to 617-726-8089:

You may also mail the surveys to:

  • William G. Austen, Jr., MD
    Massachusetts General Hospital
    55 Fruit Street, Wang 435
    Boston, MA 02114

If you have any questions, please call us at 617-724-9922.

What to Expect

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.

Conditions & Diseases

  • Headache

    A headache is pain or discomfort in the head or face area.

Clinical Trials


  • Dr. Jay Austen discusses Migraine Surgery

    Migraine Surgery

    W.G. (Jay) Austen Jr., MD, Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses a cutting edge procedure done at Mass General: Plastic Surgery for Migraines.

  • Anesthesia

    General Anesthesia Educational Video

    Learn more about general anesthesia in this educational video.


Contact Us

Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Wang Ambulatory Care Center 435

55 Fruit Street Boston, MA 02114, USA

We are also located at:

Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care
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.

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