A migraine is a debilitating condition that affects as many as 12 percent of the total population in the U.S., according to statistics from the Migraine Research Foundation. It is the third most prevalent illness in the world, preventing millions of people from accomplishing daily tasks and significantly reducing their quality of life overall. If you are one of the migraine sufferers included in these statistics, you know all too well the profound impact these severe headaches can have on your work and relationships.
Until recently, migraines were treated solely with medication and lifestyle changes to manage triggers. While advancements have been made in both of these areas over the years, some patients have not responded satisfactorily to either one. This has left a significant proportion of migraine sufferers without treatment options to manage their condition. Even Botulinum Toxin injections, a revolutionary procedure that has helped many of these patients find some relief, is a protocol that must be repeated regularly to maintain positive results. It can be difficult for patients to spend the time and money necessary to make Botulinum Toxin treatments useful.
Experience for Results
Migraine surgery is performed by a handful of doctors in the world at this time. Dr. Saad is one of the few pioneers of this technique to provide relief to migraine sufferers that could not achieve improvement in their condition through other means. He is one of the founders of the California Migraine Surgery Center, the first center dedicated to the surgical treatment of migraines in San Diego county, and one of the first across the globe. The California Migraine Surgery Center treats patients from every state and country that want to experience permanent improvement.
Are You a Candidate?
Dr. Saad will consider you for migraine surgery after you have been evaluated by your primary physician, neurologist or pain specialist. In most cases, candidates suffer from what it known as chronic daily migraine, which is characterized by 15 or more migraines a month. Surgical intervention is recommended when other forms of treatment are not effective, or when they have produced severe side effects. Patients that have responded well to Botulinum Toxin injections, but would like a more permanent treatment option, are also excellent candidates for surgery in most cases.
About Your Surgery
This procedure focuses on releasing compressed nerves underneath the surface of the skin that contribute to the onset of migraines. Migraine surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis, using general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation. The surgery does not penetrate the skull bones or reach the brain in any way.
Dr. Saad makes small incisions in the scalp to reach the nerves and release them, working in a meticulous fashion to decompress each nerve that was identified as a trigger point. The duration of the procedure will depend on the number of points to be treated, with a single location taking just about 15 minutes, and most surgeries lasting 1-2 hours. We will monitor you in our recovery area after your surgery before we release you to head home for your complete recovery.
Before Migraine Surgery
Your initial consultation with Dr. Saad may be in person or through Skype, depending on whether or not you live in the San Diego area. This comprehensive appointment begins with the completion of a detailed questionnaire that will give Dr. Saad ample information about the frequency and duration of your migraines, as well as specific symptoms you might experience. This helps him to determine whether surgery is a viable option for producing the relief you are seeking.
Identifying your trigger points for your headaches will also be a part of this meeting, since surgery involves the release of the nerves in those locations to prevent future headaches from occurring.
There are numerous trigger points across the scalp, including areas on the forehead, temples, jaw, top and back of the head, and upper neck. There may be just one point to address, or multiple areas where release will be necessary.
Once Dr. Saad has determined that surgery could be a good treatment option for you, he will educate you about this procedure so you can make the right choice for you. You will have the opportunity to discuss potential risks and benefits of the procedure, and ask any questions you might have about surgery. Your discussion with Dr. Saad should make you feel comfortable with your choice to move forward and confident that surgical intervention is the right option for you.
The Recovery Process
Recovery from migraine surgery will depend on how many trigger points were addressed. There is usually slight swelling and bruising around the incisions, but those side effects will resolve within 1-2 weeks. Most patients return to their regular activities within less than a week, however, depending on the location of your incisions, you may be restricted from strenuous exercise a bit longer to give the surgical sites ample time to heal properly.
If you are struggling with frequent migraines and have found no relief through conventional treatments, migraine surgery might be the right option for you. To learn more about this procedure, contact Dr. Saad’s