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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 December, 2004, 10:00 GMT
Surgery 'helps combat migraines'
Image of a woman in pain
One in 10 Britons suffer migraines
Surgery and botox injections can help treat migraines, a US study says.

Researchers injected about 100 patients with botox to find out which muscles triggered the migraines and then used surgery to remove the muscles.

The surgery reduced the intensity and frequency of migraines in 92% of patients and eliminated them altogether for a third of people involved.

The research, published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal, also cut the number of sick days taken.

Through our new surgical discoveries we are able to help the appropriate patients escape the awful effects of migraines and start living their lives again
Dr Bahman Guyuron, lead researcher

Before treatment migraine sufferers missed on average 4.4 days of work each month but following surgery just 1.2 days a month were lost.

There are a number of theories about what causes migraines.

Some claim they are caused when nerves are trapped or pinched by certain muscles.

The researchers used the botox, a toxin traditionally used to smooth out wrinkles and lines around the face, to paralyse muscles in the forehead and back of head to determine which muscles were causing the migraines.

However, in the UK, where one in 10 people suffer migraines, botox is not licensed for treating headaches.

Lead researcher Dr Bahman Guyuron, of the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, said the treatment had the potential to benefit employers as well as individual sufferers.


He said the economic impact of migraine headaches on businesses was "staggering due to the lose of employee time and productivity each year".

And he added: "Through our new surgical discoveries we are able to help the appropriate patients escape the awful effects of migraines and start living their lives again."

Migraine Trust chief executive Alan Bartle welcomed the research with caution.

He said the treatment had seemed to work for these patients but he warned other studies into the use of Botox injections had proved inconclusive.

"I would wish to see further studies with fully randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials among significant numbers with long-term follow up before being able to comment about the likely benefits for migraine sufferers."

Monthly migraines 'preventable'
01 Apr 03 |  Health
03 Sep 99 |  Medical notes

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