Photo courtesy of allspice1
A simple surgery is being researched that may bring significant relief to those suffering from chronic headaches. The small trial showed an increase in "quality of life" of 250% over 12 months.
The study involved 42 women and 13 men with chronic migraine. What was done? Certain superficial blood vessels on the scalp were cauterized (sealed off). That’s it. The side effects of the surgery? Temporary numbness. It sounds like it would be rather worth it.
Dr Elliot Shevel of South Africa, Professor Carlo Cianchetti of Italy and Dr Egilius Spierings of the United States are working together to do further studies on this technique.
Shevel, founder and chairman of the South African Headache Society, is also a maxillo-facial and oral surgeon. He explains how he discovered the treatment: "During the first operation I was doing on a patient’s jaw she had a pounding headache and the carotid artery on the temple was pulsing. When I blocked off the artery to the temple with my finger, the pain went away. When I took my finger off, it came back. I knew that I could cut the artery with no side effects and offered to cauterise it."
Now both South African and Italian governments have thrown in their support for future research. Though the surgery may not help everyone with chronic headache, it could be a major breakthrough for those with symptoms that are very difficult to treat.