Botox and surgery used to cure migraines

December 14, 2011 8:17:40 PM PST
Plastic surgeons and neurologists are joining forces and combining their knowledge by using Botox and surgery to cure migraines.

"5 years old is the first time I remember getting a bad one," said Jonathan Heiney, a former migraine sufferer.

For Jonathan Heiney what followed were endless visits to the emergency room, appointments with neurologists and later on, countless sick days from work.

"I had, pretty much a headache for 6 years nonstop, but some of the days my eyes would black out and I couldn't see and then some days you'd be able to deal with it," Heiney said.

But in mid November, the 25-year-old migraine sufferer underwent a cutting edge procedure and Matthew also had the surgery just three days ago.

Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh and his team first check to see if the patient would be a good candidate, by blocking problematic muscles with Botox and using local anesthetic on stubborn nerves.

"Patients who are responsive to the conservative treatment and injections with the Botox are the best candidates," said Dr. Elena Ocher, an Anesthesiologist.

During the actual surgery, the team identifies pressure points, which cause pain and vary from person to person and release them.

"Literally a switch has been turned off, this immense pain that was going on, all of a sudden there's this relief as early as the next day after surgery," Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh, a plastic surgeon.

"It sounds really too good to be true which makes me suspect," said Dr. Larry Newman, a neurologist at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital.

Dr. Larry Newman is head of the Headache Institute at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital and says the jury is still out whether this surgery works.

He points outs, what Matthew and others maybe experiencing is a placebo response.

"Right now, I call it extreme because there's only one study and there's not enough evidence that I would feel comfortable sending a family member and if I couldn't send a family member, I surely wouldn't send a patient," Dr. Newman said.

As for Jonathan, he says he is now pain free.

"Everything has changed pretty much, I don't have to worry about, like if, I have plans, I know I can actually go there, I don't have to worry if have a headache when I wake up or how bad it is," Heiney said.

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