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NZ migraine patients travel thousands of miles for relief

New Zealand migraine patients travel thousands of miles
to get relief

Although migraine surgery is a relatively new treatment option, thousands of patients have already regained their quality of life through a unique, one-hour operation. Migraine surgery is the only approach that doesn't start with the symptoms but rather the underlying cause of the migraine.

Especially in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East, migraine surgery is becoming more and more popular for long-term migraine patients who are not satisfied with common treatment options, such as medication or alternative medicine.

Through online forums and social media, migraine surgery has also made its way into the minds of New Zealand migraine patients. Many of them have not hesitated to travel to the UK to get relief. At the msc Migraine-Surgery-Centre in London (, numerous patients from New Zealand have been treated successfully.

New approach: relieving trigger points

Migraine surgery is based on the finding that migraine in several patients is not triggered in the brain but in the so-called trigger points. The most frequent trigger point lies in the region of the eyebrows: Branches of the Trigeminal nerves run through the corrugator muscle in this region. If the muscle presses against the nerve permanently, it may lead to migraine. In migraine surgery, the surgeon removes the corrugator muscle through a small cut on the eyelid crease. The surgery is performed on out-patient basis, takes about one hour and hardly leaves any noticeable scar.

Multi-stage diagnosis enhances the success of surgery
As with every migraine therapy, migraine surgery is also not a universal remedy. The verification of suitability for surgery in a multi-stage process of diagnosis is informed by the need to avoid unnecessary disappointments. Part of the process of diagnosis is a questionnaire and a detailed counselling interview during initial consultation. If a patient is determined suitable for operation, the impact of the operation is simulated through a botulinum toxin test: This is performed by paralyzing the muscle on the trigger point. The patient then maintains record of the frequency and intensity of his/her pain attacks in a migraine diary for six to eight weeks. If the botulinum toxin test is clearly successful, surgery will be taken into consideration.

Pioneering medical work in Europe

Even though the technique has been on offer in Europe since only 2006, over 1500 patients have already been operated. Elaborating on the significance of migraine surgery, Dr. med. Thomas Muehlberger pointed out that “About 35 percent of operated patients were completely free of recurrent migraine symptoms even one year after the operation. The frequency and intensity of attacks dropped by more than half in 55 percent of operated patients. Whoever has never experienced migraine can only imagine how much improvement in the quality of life this amounts to“.

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