American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

Migraine Surgery

Chronic Headache Relief

The goal of migraine surgery is to reduce or eliminate headache frequency, duration and pain by surgically releasing pressure points around the head.

What are the steps of a migraine surgery procedure?

Step 1 - Anesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include local anesthesia, intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 - The incision

The type of incision varies based on the location of your trigger site(s) and your surgeon's preference. Be sure to ask your surgeon about their specific technique and location of incisions.

In general, at the frontal trigger site, your surgeon will either use an endoscopic or open approach. If your surgeon favors an endoscopic approach, you will have three to five small (1.5cm) incisions in the hairline above your forehead. If you undergo an open procedure, the incision will be in your eyelid crease. This is the same incision that is used for upper eyelid blepharoplasty (upper eyelid rejuvenation).

At the temporal trigger site, surgeons who opt for an endoscopic approach will make two small incisions in the hair-bearing temple. If the temporal trigger site is addressed at the same time as the frontal trigger site, your surgeon may use the same upper eyelid incision to address both sites. Another option is to make a separate, small incision at the temple.

At the occipital trigger site, an incision is made either vertically along the midline or horizontally across the back of your head. Both types of incisions are in the hair-bearing area of your scalp.

Incisions at the rhinogenic trigger site are individualized based on your specific intranasal findings.

If you are experiencing pain at a trigger site that is less common, an incision may be made in different areas.

Migraine surgery is individualized based on your specific symptoms. Therefore, make sure to speak to your surgeon about the specific incisions for your procedure.

Step 3 - Closing the incisions

Sutures, skin adhesives, tapes or clips close the skin incisions.


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