Common plastic surgery procedure offers migraine relief?

Denise Dador  LOS ANGELES (KABC) —

Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches that can be extremely painful and debilitating. Now a common plastic surgery procedure, a “migraine makeover” of sorts, may help stop the pain.

Susan Neuberger doesn’t take any pain-free second for granted. She’s suffered from migraines for 33 years.

“It felt like somebody stabbing me,” said Neuberger. “I missed work at least once every two weeks, at least.”

She took medications for years but never got real relief. Then she met Dr. Silvio Podda. He’d read an article about a plastic surgeon who performed brow-lift surgery on 40 migraine patients.

“Out of those 40 patients, all of them that had done the procedure, they never had any more episodes of migraine,” said Silvio Podda, MD Director, St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center.

Podda suggested Neuberger try it since there are few risks to the cosmetic procedure.

First, Neuberger received Botox injections to temporarily paralyze muscles and nerves in her forehead. Then the procedure.

Podda made two small incisions on the top of Neuberger’s head and removed nerves and the glabellar muscle, the one that gives people a frown expression. That simple release reduces the pain.

A study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found the brow-lift procedure completely eliminated migraines in 57 percent of patients. Podda says that’s huge.

Neuberger says the day she had the surgery, it changed her life.

“I have not had a migraine since that day. That was December 4th, 2009,” said Neuberger.

Now she doesn’t miss out on anything.

“When people say they were given a new lease on life, I was, by Dr. Silvio Podda, and that was the best day of my life,” said Neuberger.

Podda says there aren’t many risks to a brow-lift procedure. However, a rare one can result in damage to the frontal nerve in the face.

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