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Study Shows the Benefits of Botox for Migraine-sufferers

Posted: August 10, 2009

Recent research has shown using Botox can help ease the suffering of those experiencing frequent migraines, and a new clinical trial has confirmed the results.

Thanks to a procedure borrowed from cosmetic surgery, Michelle Cramer has now lost most of her frequent and debilitating migraine headaches, as well as her frown lines. Cramer, a graphics illustrator in Williamsburg, Virginia, suffered about 15 migraines a month for close to a decade until she had surgery to "disarm" various nerves that were apparently controlling her headaches. "I get maybe two migraines a year now," she said.

Cramer, 38, participated in a clinical trial to evaluate the surgery, the results of which are published in the August issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. "The theory here is that there are sites outside the brain in the face and back of the head that can trigger migraines and, if you surgically remove the migraine trigger, the migraine will improve and there's certainly a precedent for the idea," said Dr. Richard Lipton, director of the Montefiore Headache Center in New York City. He was not involved in the new study.

Using surgery to correct migraine is a relatively new idea. According to background information in the article, some 30 million Americans suffer from migraines, a disproportionate number of them women.

The study enrolled 75 patients with moderate to severe migraine headaches. Migraine trigger sites in the forehead, cheek and back of the head/neck were identified, then injected with the face-lifter Botox to see if the drug "disarmed" them.