Now, thanks to an innovative surgical technique performed by a UT Southwestern Medical Center plastic surgeon who helped pioneer the procedure, the frequency and intensity of Mrs. Bennett's migraines have diminished dramatically – from two to three per week to an occasional one every few months.
The technique – performed by a handful of plastic surgeons in the U.S. – includes using the anti-wrinkle drug Botox to pinpoint which of several specific muscles in the forehead, back of the head or temple areas may be serving as "trigger points" to compress, irritate or entrap nerves that could be causing the migraine. Because Botox temporarily paralyzes muscles, usually for about three months, it can be used as a "litmus test" or "marker" to see if headaches go away or become less intense while the Botox's effects last, said Dr. Jeffrey Janis, assistant professor of plastic surgery.
If the Botox is successful in preventing migraines or lessening their severity, then surgery to remove the targeted muscle is likely to accomplish the same result, but on a more long-term and possibly permanent basis, he said.
For Mrs. Bennett, the surgery proved to be life-altering.
"I can't even begin to tell you what a change this has made in my life," said Mrs. Bennett, 45, a Houston-area resident. "For the first time in years, I can live like a normal human being and do all the normal 'mom' and 'wife' things that the migraines physically prevented me from doing. My family thinks it's great because they don't have to put their lives on hold numerous times a week because of my migraines. I'm also going back to school to get a second degree, something I could never have considered before."
Dr. Janis said: "Many neurologists are using Botox to treat migraines, but they are making the injections in a 'headband-like' circle around the forehead, temple and skull. They are not looking at finding the specific location of the headache's trigger point. While patients may get temporary relief, after the Botox wears off they will have to go back and get more injections or continue medications for migraines.
"It's like a math equation. I will inject the Botox into one trigger point at a time and leave the others alone. The Botox is used as a diagnostic test to determine what trigger point is causing the problem. If patients get a benefit from the Botox, they likely will get a benefit from the surgery. If there's no benefit from the Botox, then there won't be a benefit from the surgery."
Dr. Janis began collaborating more than five years ago with Dr. Bahman Guyuron, a plastic surgeon at Case Western Reserve University and the first to explore using surgery to relieve migraines, following the revelation by several of his patients that their migraines had disappeared after they had cosmetic brow lifts. Dr. Janis has assisted his colleague by performing anatomical studies on cadavers to explore the nerves and pathways that might cause migraines. Together they have identified four specific trigger points and developed a treatment algorithm that includes using Botox prior to deciding whether to perform surgery.
During the past several years, numerous peer-reviewed articles have been published in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery detailing their research efforts and the researchers have presented the technique at professional meetings of plastic surgeons.
Approximately 28 million Americans, 75 percent of those women, suffer from migraines, according to the National Institutes of Health. For employers, that translates into an estimated 157 million lost workdays annually.
"A migraine is something you can't explain to someone who hasn't had one," said Mrs. Bennett, who began suffering monthly migraines as a teenager. As she grew older, the headaches become more frequent and unpredictable. "They were messing up my life. I couldn't make any commitments or plan activities for my kids. This surgery has made a huge difference in my life. It's awesome."
Dr. Janis only sees patients who have been diagnosed with recurring migraines by a neurologist and have tried other treatments that have failed.
"Plastic surgeons are not in the business of diagnosing and treating headaches," he said. "This is a novel method of treatment that is proving to be effective and potentially more long lasting than other things used before. But it is still in its infancy."
Donna Steph Hansard | EurekAlert!
Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University
3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering
24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy