Surgical treatment of migraine headaches by corrugator muscle resection

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2004 Sep 1;114(3):652-7; discussion 658-9. doi: 10.1097/01.prs.0000131906.27281.17.


The authors, a plastic surgeon (Dirnberger) and a neurologist (Becker), conducted this study after reading the article by of Bahman Guyuron et al. in the August 2000 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (106: 429, 2000). Sixty patients were operated on between June of 2001 and June of 2002; postoperative follow-up ranged between 6 and 18 months. Patients' charts were reviewed to confirm the diagnosis of migraine headache according to the criteria of the International Headache Society. Sixty patients (13 men and 47 women) from Austria and four neighboring countries took part in the study. The patients were divided into three groups, based on the severity of their migraines: group A comprised patients with up to 4 days of migraine per month; group B included patients with 5 to 14 days of migraine per month; and group C was composed of patients with more than 15 days of headache per month ("permanent headache") or evidence of drug abuse and drug-related headaches. The effectiveness of the operation was evaluated using the following factors: percentage reduction of headache days; percentage reduction of drugs; percentage reduction of side effects, severity of headaches, and response to drugs; and patient grade of personal satisfaction, using a scale from 1 to 5 [1 = excellent (total elimination of migraine headache) to 5 = insufficient or no improvement]. From the entire group of 60 patients, 17 (28.3 percent) reported a total relief from migraine, 24 (40 percent) reported an essential improvement, and 19 (31.7 percent) reported minimal or no change. Patients with a rather mild form of migraine headache had a much better chance (almost 90 percent in group A and 75 percent in group B) to experience an improvement or total elimination of migraine than those patients (n = 27) from group C with severe migraine, "permanent headaches," and drug-induced headaches. Contrary to the reports by Guyuron, 11 patients who had a very favorable response immediately and in the first weeks after the operation experienced a gradual return of their headaches to preoperative intensity after about 4 postoperative weeks. After 3 months, the results in all patients could be declared permanent. All side effects, such as paraesthesia in the frontal region, disappeared in all patients within 3 to 9 months.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Facial Muscles / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy
  • Migraine Disorders / surgery*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Recurrence
  • Severity of Illness Index