November 22nd, 2013
08:19 AM ET

Desperation Drives Some to Have Migraine Surgery

Thirty-six million Americans suffer from migraines and a growing number are taking extreme measures to relieve the pain.

They are choosing to undergo migraine surgery.

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta says it started nearly 10 years ago when plastic surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic noticed something curious after performing certain operations known as brow lifts.

“Some of the patients came back saying they used to have frequent migraines that then  went away after the operations. Now the surgeons became intrigued and began to experiment,” Dr. Gupta says.

However, “the American Headache Society calls migraine surgery a last resort option that's not appropriate for most sufferers,” he says.

“To see if someone is a good candidate, surgeons will often test by injecting lidocaine or botox into the suspected trigger points. If that helps, they say the operation could be a more permanent fix.”

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