If you suffer from migraines, then you know how hard it can be to get relief. For many people, migraines can get so intense that they interfere with daily life. Many people manage the pain from migraines with over the counter medication, rest, and caffeine, while others work with their physicians to get preventative medication. Alternative treatments such as Botox have demonstrated success in easing migraine pain. Today, other methods are evolving for helping people cope with migraines. One of the newest theories is that blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) may be able to help reduce the frequency of migraines in some chronic sufferers.
Symptoms and Causes of Migraines
Symptoms of migraines include an intense headache, sensitivity to light and sound, blurred vision, and “aura,” a vision issue that can cause bright spots and flashes, temporary vision loss, and other symptoms. Most people who suffer from migraines must shut out all stimulus and get lots of rest for the duration of the migraine. Medications have varying amounts of success. Migraines can last anywhere from four to 72 hours, which means that a migraine at the wrong time can be very disruptive to everyday life. The causes of migraines are still somewhat unknown, but there are many factors that can trigger the problem, including:
- Hormone fluctuations
- Diet and food additives
- Bright lights and unusual smells
- Changes in weather or pressure
You may be wondering how something like eyelid surgery could possibly help keep migraines at bay. It all has to do with “trigger nerves” in the eye area, the compression of which can contribute to certain types of migraines.
Researchers at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center at the New Orleans School of Medicine recently performed a special type of blepharoplasty on a sample of 35 people, mostly women, who were an average age of 46. The procedure involved making incisions in the eyelids to “deactivate” certain nerves believed to contribute to migraines, and lifting the lids of these patients. According to researcher Oren Tessler, “Ninety percent of our patients had over 50 percent improvement in their migraines.”
After a year’s time, 51 percent had no migraines,” he continued. Others reportedly went from about 18.5 migraines a month down to about four.
Issues that have been brought up with this study include the small sample size and the fact that there was no control group, as surgery has been known to have a placebo effect. Despite these problems, the results of the study are encouraging, and the research is a positive step in the treatment of this often debilitating problem. For the time being, most professionals agree that more evidence is needed before the surgery should be recommended for chronic migraine treatment.
Eyelid surgery is typically performed as an aesthetic procedure, and can greatly improve sagging skin and fat around the eyes for a more youthful appearance. Blepharoplasty is popular among middle-aged patients, as aging in the eye area often begins early and can create a tired, angry, or disinterested expression, as well as cause significant under-eye bags.
Modern eyelid surgery is a highly customizable procedure that may involve a variety of different techniques, including:
- Removal/tightening of sagging skin
- Fat transposition
- Addition of volume to the tear troughs
- Lifting of the eyelids
- Excision of excess fat around the eyes
Incisions for surgical blepharoplasty are typically made in the natural folds of the eyelids to keep them as invisible as possible. For lower lid blepharoplasty, incisions are usually placed inside the lower eyelid. Depending on the procedure, only local anesthetic may be necessary, but only a plastic surgeon can determine which course of action is best for each patient. Most patients are ready to return to work within 10 days following surgery, and can start to see the results of the procedure a week or so afterward.
Choosing Your Surgeon
While there is certainly no guarantee at this time that eyelid surgery will help with migraine pain, particularly with the information on the subject so new, the procedure offers other major benefits, mainly a refreshed, more youthful appearance. Getting the results you want from eyelid surgery will largely depend on the skill of your surgeon and how well you follow his or her instructions. If you are interested in learning more about the procedure and would like to assess your candidacy for blepharoplasty, then come to Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester(508-363-6500) or Stoneham(617-247-0033), MA to meet with Dr. Stuart Bentkover. Dr. Bentkover is a board certified plastic surgeon, offering patients a safe and consistent surgical experience. Call today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Bentkover.