It has already been well documented that a cosmetic procedure called forehead lift can treat or at least minimize the symptoms of chronic migraine for the “right” patient. However, a new study claims that “young” patients or 18 years and below could also benefit from the procedure.
A study published by Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal (June 2015 issue) has suggested that forehead lift could also serve as a migraine surgery for carefully selected adolescent patients suffering from chronic migraine, which is medically defined as recurrent throbbing headache often accompanied by disturbed vision, light sensitivity, and nausea.
The study involved 14 patients aged 18 years and younger who had migraine surgery that closely resembled cosmetic forehead lift. In the past, plastic surgeons noticed that many seniors who had the cosmetic procedure reported moderate to significant improvement in their migraine symptoms following their surgery.
Surgeons have realized that to some degree forehead lift can release some of the “trigger sites” or nerve branches that are “irritated” or impinged by the soft tissue, which are linked to migraine symptoms. Nevertheless, experts highlight the importance of careful patient selection and preoperative evaluation to determine one’s candidacy for this procedure.
Today’s facial plastic surgeons are using several technologies to identify trigger sites, although the most popular are the ultrasound Doppler, nerve blocks, and CT scans.
Despite the benefits of forehead lift used as a migraine surgery, doctors warn that any type of surgery should be viewed as a last resort. For this reason, patients who were included in the study all had tried non-surgical treatments first but to no avail.
The researchers who conducted the recently published study said they conducted follow-up interviews at least one year after surgery in all patients who reported improvement in their migraine symptoms—i.e., average headache frequency decreased from 25 times per month prior to their operation to five times per month postop.
In terms of average migraine severity before and after surgery, using a ten-point scale the “score” decreased from 8.2 to 4.3. The average length of time of “attacks” was also reduced from 12 hours to four hours.
Meanwhile, five out of the 14 adolescent patients reported complete relief from migraines after surgery, with one experiencing no change in the frequency of her headache although attacks were less severe and shorter postop.
According to Migraine Research Foundation, about 4 percent of the US population or around 14 million people have chronic migraine attacks that occur at least 15 days per month, with some of them not responding to conventional treatment options.