What is a Migraine?
A migraine is a neurological experience that is often described as an excruciating headache. It’s a neurological condition that causes a patient to experience extreme pain in their head, usually on one side. These vicious and debilitating attacks can last anywhere from four hours to 72 hours.
What Causes Migraines?
Medical researchers have yet to determine a specific cause of migraine attacks, but many experts in the field believe that both genetic and environmental factors play a role in their occurrence. A variety of different factors can trigger attacks including hormonal changes, foods, stress, alcohol, environmental changes and certain medications.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Migraines?
In addition to a piercing headache, other common signs of a migraine include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, sound and smell and blurred vision. Some patients experience many different symptoms at once while others might only experience one symptom during their attacks.
What Traditional Treatments Are Offered for Migraines?
Traditionally, physicians looked to help patients better cope with migraine attacks and minimize their symptoms. This often involved prescribing pain medications and other prescriptions to patients for them to use when a migraine occurred. While these treatments helped to minimize the impact of the migraine, they did not prevent the migraines from occurring all together.
How Has Modern Medicine Improved Migraine Treatment Plans?
Most physicians and surgeons today, including Dr. Mohsen Tavoussi, prefer to provide patients with a treatment plan that will prevent migraines from occurring. For many patients, the best way to eliminate their migraines is to have a surgical procedure performed that is designed to correct the damaged nerves that could be causing the migraines.
What is Migraine Surgery?
Migraine surgery, which is also known as nerve decompression surgery, aims to both identify injured nerves on the patient’s scalp and subsequently fix those nerve endings. This is a precise surgical technique that should only be performed by an expert like Dr. Tavoussi. This procedure has been proven to be completely successful in about 55 percent of cases, with about 80 percent of patients reporting significant improvement.
Where Does Dr. Tavoussi Perform Migraine Surgical Procedures?
Dr. Tavoussi prefers to work out of qualified surgical centers for his migraine operations. These centers are affordable while still allowing him to provide his patients with the best care and facilities in the area. Most migraine surgical procedures are considered outpatient procedures, so patients are not required to stay overnight after it is complete.
What Type of Anesthesia is Required for This Surgery?
In order to keep the patient as comfortable and relaxed as possible and to ensure the best results from the surgery, Dr. Tavoussi uses general anesthesia for his migraine procedures. He works with the best anesthesiologists in the region. Patients can expect to spend about half the day in the facility before they can be released to go home.
What Diagnostic Testing is Performed Prior to the Operation?
Dr. Tavoussi usually performs a series of diagnostic tests in order to confirm the cause of the migraine attacks. In some cases, this involves a CT scan in order to give Dr. Tavoussi the best vantage point of the nasal structure and the sinuses. Testing is also performed in order to be sure the patient can withstand general anesthesia.
What Does the Recovery Process Involve?
Patients should expect to rest and recover immediately following the operation. A family member or trusted friend should be available for transportation and postoperative care. Patients will notice some swelling and bruising near the incisions, but will find that most of it will subside in two weeks. Patients should not engage in rigorous exercise for at least three weeks after the operation, but after that there are few limitations for recovering patients.
What Type of Postoperative Care is Required?
In some migraine surgery procedures, drain tubes will be inserted in the patient and must remain there for several days after the operation. Patients should request the help of a relative or friend in order to assist them with removing and draining the tubes. In addition, the patient and caretaker should work to apply ointment to the incisions throughout the first week of recovery.
Am I a Good Candidate for Migraine Surgery?
Typically, migraine surgery is reserved for those patients who have severe migraine attacks on a regular basis. Patients who experience migraines at least three times every month are considered candidates for the migraine surgery procedure. When migraines interfere with a person’s quality of life, they should consider this surgery a treatment option.
How Should I Prepare for the Surgery?
Dr. Tavoussi will provide each patient with a set of specific pre-operative instructions. Every patient must avoid aspirin and other blood-thinning medications for at least three weeks prior to the operation, as well as one week after it takes place. These instructions must be followed as they are put in place for safety reasons.
When Will I See Improvement After the Operation?
With nerve decompression surgery, patients may see relief immediately after the operation or within several weeks. In other migraine surgery procedures, such as the septoplasty or turbinate reduction surgery, results could take several months to be fully realized due to the slow healing process of the nose.
What Risks Are Associated with Migraine Surgical Procedures?
As with any surgery, there are risks associated with migraine surgical procedures. Patients should understand that many of the risks are considered rare complications, and are minimized greatly by the fact that they are working with an expert surgeon. Some risks might include extended numbness at the incision site, hair loss near the incision, nerve damage and blood clots.
Where are the Incisions Located?
Depending on the procedure type, the location of the incisions will vary. With nerve decompression surgery, the incisions are located at the site of the damaged nerves which are typically on the scalp. With septoplasty and turbinate reduction surgery, the incision is located in the folds of the nose where it will not be visible after the surgery.
What is the Success Rate of the Migraine Surgical Procedures?
It’s important to understand the definition of success for these surgical procedures. For Dr. Tavoussi, success means a reduction of up to 50 percent in the length, severity and frequency of migraine attacks. With nerve decompression surgery, he has a success rate of up to 80 percent with his patients. Nearly 50 percent of those patients find that they no longer have any migraine attacks.
Are Migraine Surgical Procedures Covered By Most Insurance Plans?
Coverage will vary based on the patient’s insurance plan. Nearly half of all major providers and plans will cover this procedure.
What Are My Options if My Condition Does Not Improve?
In rare cases, other injured nerve endings are discovered after the most prevalent nerves are decompressed. Patients can opt to have the surgery performed again on these nerves if they so choose. It’s rare for the surgery to be completely unsuccessful.
Will I Still Take Migraine Medications After the Operation?
Most patients will find that they do not need migraine medications after they have a migraine surgery performed. However, if patients continue to have migraine attacks every so often, they are welcome to use the medications that they prefer in order to manage their symptoms, so long as those medications do not contain aspirin.
How Can Botox Be Used To Improve Migraines?
Normally, Botox is used as a cosmetic procedure in order to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles on a person’s face. This dermal filler specializes in paralyzing nerve endings, and therefore it can be used in order to paralyze nerve endings that cause migraines. Botox results last for about 3-4 months, at which time this non-surgical procedure can be performed again.
What is the Septoplasty Procedure?
The septoplasty is a surgical procedure which aims to fix a deviated septum in a person’s nose. A deviated septum can cause people to experience a variety of symptoms, including difficulty breathing, trouble sleeping, excessive snoring and migraines. If Dr. Tavoussi determines that the deviated septum is the cause of your migraine attacks, then the septoplasty may be your best surgical option. During the operation, Dr. Tavoussi will correct the deviated septum with the goal of minimizing or eliminating migraines for the patient. Once this structural issue is fixed in your nose, you will also notice that you snore less, breathe easier and sleep better throughout the night.
What is the Turbinate Reduction Procedure?
The turbinate reduction surgery is a sinus surgery that aims to reduce the size of the nasal turbinates. These turbinates act as the body’s natural humidifier, and when enlarged it can lead to a variety of symptoms including congestion, sinus infections and migraines. Dr. Tavoussi is a highly-skilled surgeon who uses precision when correcting the size of the nasal turbinates. By reducing their size, he is able to provide his patients with physical relief from their symptoms and ultimately eliminate or reduce the frequency of their migraine attacks.