Migraine Surgery

Migraine Surgery

Dr. Jonathan Cabin is proud to be one of the first surgeons in Southern California to offer cutting-edge migraine surgery to help people suffering from chronic migraines. A subsidiary of the CENTER for Advanced Facial Plastic Surgery, The Migraine Institute is Southern California’s top clinic for migraine relief treatments. Dedicated to supporting you, our entire team has a genuine passion for helping our patients find relief!


Who is a candidate for migraine surgery?

First, it is important to understand that there is a difference between headaches and migraines. Candidates for migraine surgery need to be diagnosed by a neurologist with migraines. The surgery is not available for people suffering from the more general headaches.

Once you have received a migraine diagnosis, the next step is to determine the underlying cause of your migraines. At present time, migraine surgery is only effective in treating migraines that are caused by one of four muscular or nerve trigger points. One of these trigger points is located inside of the nose, while the other three are located around the scalp. If you suffer from a trigger point different than one of these four, at this time you are not a candidate for surgery.

How are migraine trigger points diagnosed?

The most common way we diagnose the three trigger points located in the scalp is through BOTOX© injections. If the BOTOX treatment alleviates your migraine symptoms, then we can conclude we have found your trigger point. To diagnose a nasal trigger point we will have you use nasal sprays to see if it alleviates your symptoms. Again, if your symptoms go away or are reduced from the nasal spray, then we have successfully found a migraine trigger point.


Migraine Surgery

Once Dr. Cabin confirms your migraine trigger points, he can begin to plan your customized migraine surgery to reduce or remove this faulty nerve signal. For the majority of patients, migraine surgery significantly decreases the frequency, intensity, and duration of migraines. More specifically, over 90% of patients will have improvement and approximately 50% of patients will no longer experience migraines after surgery.

Overview of Migraine Surgery and Recovery

Before Migraine Surgery

Prior to your migraine surgery, you will need to undergo a variety of medical tests, including blood work and a general medical examination from your primary doctor to make sure you are healthy for surgery. In some cases, depending on your age and other medical conditions, Dr. Cabin may require you to undergo additional clearance tests. This will all be discussed in greater detail upon booking your surgery date.

Two weeks before your migraine surgery with Dr. Cabin, you need to avoid blood thinning medications and supplements. We ask you do this in order to prevent excessive bleeding during your surgery. However, if you need these medications for a serious condition, Dr. Cabin will speak with your managing physician about alternative options to ensure your operation is safe.

Additionally, we will ask you to stop eating and drinking at midnight before your procedure. This helps to ensure the anesthesia can be administered safely.

Day of Migraine Surgery

Some patients may have their migraine surgery under local anesthesia, dependent upon specific trigger points. In other cases, the surgery may require general anesthesia. Prior to your surgery, Dr. Cabin will let you know which anesthesia option your surgery will require.

The migraine surgery itself takes approximately one to three hours. The surgery time varies depending on the number of trigger points and their locations.

Dr. Cabin will make one or more small incisions within the hairline on the scalp or hidden within the upper eyelid creases so that the patient does not have any visible scars following surgery. For patients with a nasal trigger point, Dr. Cabin will make the incision within the nose.

Because Dr. Cabin is also an expert facial plastic surgeon, many patients opt to combine facial rejuvenation procedures with their migraine surgery. This is a great option for many patients, as in many cases, Dr. Cabin is able to utilize the same incisions for both the migraine surgery and the aesthetic surgery.

Recovering From Migraine Surgery

Since migraine surgery is an outpatient procedure, you can return home or to an aftercare facility the same day as your surgery. One week after surgery you will come in to the office for your post-op appointment with Dr. Cabin. He will remove all sutures and make sure everything is healing properly. If you had nasal surgery, you will have stitches in your nose that dissolve on their own within a few weeks. Depending on your job, you may return to work within one to three weeks. Dr. Cabin will ask you minimize your physical activity for approximately three weeks and let you know when you can return to your normal fitness routines.

Migraine Surgery Results

Every patient has a unique experience in terms of when they start experiencing the results of migraine surgery. Some patients notice an immediate improvement in their migraine symptoms, while others may not experience full relief for a few weeks or even months. However, the majority of our patients report noticing improvement within two to four weeks of surgery.

Although rare, it is possible that your migraine symptoms will not significantly improve after surgery. This is generally a result of having other migraine trigger sites that are now evident after eliminating the primary sites. These additional triggers can typically be treated by an additional procedure

Potential Side Effects

Every patient is unique and has a different experience with recovery after migraine surgery. Some patients may experience some swelling and bruising around their eyes, which typically dissipates within one to two weeks. Dr. Cabin recommends icing the area and using anti-bruising pills and/or ointment to help speed up the recovery process. Additionally, many patients are itchy around the scalp incisions, but this usually goes away within a few days.

Pain is typically very manageable and Dr. Cacbin will prescribe you pain medicine to use over the first few days so you are not uncomfortable. He may also prescribe a short course of antibiotics to prevent any infection.

Potential Complications

Potential complications of migraine surgery can include:

  • Poor scar healing
  • Dry eyes
  • Hair loss around the incision points
  • Muscle/nerve injury causing temporary movement issues

Most patients will have some temporary facial muscle weakness after the surgery, which is expected to recover over a series of weeks.

Why Choose Dr. Cabin For Your Migraine Surgery?

Committed to helping his patients find relief, Dr. Cabin is the first surgeon in Los Angeles solely dedicated to alleviating migraine pain with surgery. He is a pioneer in the field of migraine surgery and is highly respected by surgeons from around the world. If you are interested in learning if you are a candidate for migraine surgery, please schedule your consultation with Dr. Cabin today – 310.461.0303!

For additional information, please visit www.TheMigraineInstitute.com.