According to a new study released by the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® journal, migraine sufferers may now be able to experience permanent relief through cosmetic surgery. More specifically, through forehead lifts or forehead/brow lift procedures.
It has long been thought that migraine headaches are related to irritation in the trigeminal nerve branches. When there is muscle tension surrounding these nerves, they can be affected and it can lead to migraine headaches. Following this logic, it's understandable why so many patients found temporary relief with Botox for migraines. When the Botox neurotoxin relaxed or temporarily froze the muscles in patients' foreheads, the trigeminal nerves weren't irritated by muscle tension anymore.
In a MedicalNewsToday article about this forehead lift/migraine study, conducted at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, we learn that an "estimated 30 million Americans" and "nearly 18 percent of women" suffer from migraines. For the "double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial," 75 patients were used in total. Forty-nine of them were given the actual forehead lift surgery, and 26 were given a "sham," or false, procedure.
One year after the surgeries took place, the patients were asked to report on the status of their migraines. Among the 49 patients who received the real forehead lift surgery, 57% reported a complete and total end to their migraines, and 83% reported at least a 50% reduction in migraine occurrences. Some members of the placebo group also noticed some improvement in their migraine symptoms, which researchers said could be due to a placebo effect. Researchers also noted that, even with the placebo group's improvements, the difference between the two groups' results was "statistically significant" enough to indicate a reasonable correlation between forehead lifts and a total elimination of migraine symptoms.
Forehead lifts, or forehead/brow lifts, are fairly popular plastic surgery procedures that are meant to "lift" and tighten the skin and musculature of the forehead. Forehead lifts not only eliminate wrinkles and sagging skin, they create a younger-looking facial appearance overall. Some patients also choose forehead lift surgery when they have a smaller or disproportionate forehead and want to make their face more symmetrical and well-proportioned.
In terms of the surgery itself, the two main procedure types are the coronal forehead lift and the endoscopic forehead lift. For a coronal forehead lift, an incision is made from ear to ear across the top of the head, with the incision line being drawn just behind the hairline. Then the skin and muscles are gently manipulated by a plastic surgeon, being lifted and tightened for a smoother forehead appearance.
For an endoscopic forehead lift, 3-5 small incisions are made vertically just behind the hairline, and spaced evenly apart across the crown. An endoscope is inserted into these incisions to loosen the skin tissue and muscle from the bone wall. Then, tiny specific pieces of the forehead muscles are removed, and the forehead is lifted through the use of small lifting implants or sutures.
On average, forehead lift surgery takes 1-3 hours to complete, depending on the type of forehead lift procedure chosen, and the level of work involved. The surgery is completed under general or local anesthesia, depending on what the forehead lift surgeon deems necessary. Additionally, The surgery will be performed in an accredited surgery center, and it may take 2-3 weeks for patients to feel fully recovered; stitches should be ready to come out in a week or less.
The cost of forehead lift surgery will vary by region, by the level of work that's involved, and by the individual costs and fees given by the forehead lift surgeon. Currently, the national average cost of forehead lift surgery is between $3000 and $4000.
While there are many medications available today to help treat severe headache symptoms, the frequent cost of these can be exorbitant for patients with recurring migraines. According to Medical News Today, an estimated "13 billion dollars" accumulates every year from the combined cost of headache medicine and time off work due to migraine pain. With that large estimate in mind, spending up to $4000 one time to permanently correct recurring migraine headaches (while simultaneously taking years off of your skin) doesn't seem like such a bad deal. Forehead lifts don't guarantee that migraines will never develop again, but these study results greatly suggest that forehead lifts will make a huge difference in the frequency and severity of patients' migraines.
If it's the anti-aging benefits, rather than the headache relief, that makes forehead lifts appeal to you, there are numerous other lifting procedures that can help you to achieve beautiful, younger-looking facial skin. The facelift is probably the most popular, and the most well-known, among these cosmetic lift surgeries. The surgical process of a facelift is similar to that of a forehead lift, except with the facelift the incisions are made at different points and the facial skin of the cheeks and jaw is also manipulated into a tighter, more youthful shape and consistency.
The Mid-Facelift focuses on the middle portion of the face, which can include the cheeks, lower eyelids and upper jaw area. The Brow Lift is closely tied to the forehead lift, but mainly intended to raise low-set eyebrows, or to lift eyebrows while simultaneously removing excess skin around the eyes, for a younger eye appearance.
One of the newer lift procedures to be developed is the S-Lift, or Short Scar Facelift. The s-lift makes very tiny incisions in the facial skin at varying points, and then excess tissue is removed, facial muscles are tightened, and the end result is a smoother, more rejuvenated facial appearance. Neck lifts are also occasionally performed in conjunction with another facial lifting procedure, for the most enhanced results possible.
If you're trying to determine if forehead lifts are the answer to your migraine problems, or your aging skin problems, it's best to consult with a trusted plastic surgeon near you. They will have the knowledge and the expertise to assess if forehead lifts will be the best way to treat your headache and/or aging skin conditions. This will help ensure that patients receive exactly the type of treatment they're looking for.