No Place . . . or Almost No Place for Surgery for Headaches

One treatment for headaches, namely types of plastic surgery, have made a lot of news in the past couple of years. It was being promoted by a few plastic surgeons and not headache specialists.  After careful investigation, the American Headaches Society (those scientists and practitioners who have devoted their entire careers to headache disorders) has issued a statement (To read the entire American Headache Soceity’s statement click here.)  that there is virtually no place for such surgeries . . . simply because they don’t work.

A few years ago cardiovascular surgeons were promoting the closure of holes in the heart (PFO) as a cure for headaches.  Those too were never shown to be of benefit of the vast number of migraine sufferers.

I can understand the appeal of procedures to cure headaches. If I had a chronic, disabling disease, I too would wish for a one time treatment that would cure me.  We (speaking of the patient’s perspective) often view our bodies like it were a car. If it was broken, then replace a part and it would be back to normal. However, it rarely works that way with the human body, especially when it comes to headaches. We are a millions times more complex than a machine. Maybe a knee replacement can add quality to someone’s life. But doing surgery for headaches . . . just doesn’t work.