published Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Ask A Doctor: I have frequent migraines in spite of taking medications. Are there other treatments?

By Dr. Jimmy Waldrop

Q: I have frequent migraines in spite of taking medications. Are there other treatments?

A: Migraine headaches affect 20 percent of women, 6 percent of men and are a significant source of discomfort and loss of productivity. Additionally, there is a significant financial expense related to medical costs and missed work. Most migraines can be controlled with medications and avoidance of trigger agents. However, some patients continue to have severe migraines in spite of treatment or are unable to tolerate the medication side effects. In addition to oral medications, Botox injections are a common treatment, but this provides only temporary improvement in some patients. Surgical treatment for migraines is performed by certain plastic surgeons. This treatment targets trigger points around the head and is performed with small incisions located beneath the hairline. The procedure is done under anesthesia as outpatient surgery. Studies have shown that a significant number of patients have complete elimination of migraines, and about 80 percent surgically treated have significant improvement in migraines.

— Dr. Jimmy Waldrop, The Plastic Surgery Group; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: Email questions for medical doctors,to Wesley Holloway at wholloway@timesfreepress.com.

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