Nerve Decompression for Headache
Conveniently located to serve Dallas and Fort Worth
Nerve decompression is a highly effective surgical treatment option for providing relief to individuals who suffer from facial, head, and neck pain as well as chronic migraines, particularly in those patients who have not received the relief they need from other non-surgical options.
There are several different types of nerve decompression treatments designed to address the compression of specific nerves that are triggering chronic migraines. Finding the best surgical treatment option for addressing chronic migraines will depend on a number of factors. Outcomes reported in the literature are as high as 70-80% success. The primary risk of these surgeries is numbness, which is rarely bothersome to the patient.
Supraorbital and Supratrochlear Nerve compression
The supraorbital and supratrochlear nerves are located in the forehead, at the border of the eye and the brow. It is comprised of a network of small nerve endings and is known to be a common area where nerve compression occurs. This type of compression tends to cause severe pain in the back of the eyes and forehead.
The procedure for addressing supraorbital nerve compression is performed via a small incision in the eyelid – the same that is used for an eye lift. The surgery is done jointly with a neurosurgeon and plastic surgeon. The source of the compression can then be identified. The source of the compression may be scar tissue, pressure from surrounding muscles, or a number of other potential problems. Once the exact source is identified, the tissue responsible for the pressure is removed or adjusted as needed. Finally, the incision is closed in a cosmetic fashion.
The greater occipital nerve is responsible for providing sensation to the back and top of the head. This nerve is a common location for migraine triggers and causes pain that can be felt in the back of the head, behind the eyes, and along the upper neck. Chronic pain in the occipital nerve is referred to as occipital neuralgia. This issue primarily occurs as the result of significant trauma to the area. Car accidents are a common cause of this condition. Physical stress, bone tumors, repetitive neck contractions, and other medical complications can also cause occipital neuralgia.
Occipital neuralgia surgery involves first making an incision in the back of the neck. The next step is removing tissue around the occipital nerve to reduce the compression of the nerve so that it can function properly. The incision is then closed. The procedure can provide a noticeable decrease in chronic pain which helps to restore the patient’s quality of life.
Zygomatic, zygomaticotemporal, auriculotemporal nerves
These nerves are located between the ear and the eye and can be associated with pain in the temples. These can be accessed through a small incision in front of the ear, at the hairline. Once the tissues causing the nerve compression have been adjusted to release the pressure, the incision is closed.
Recovery After Nerve Decompression for Headaches
While these surgeries are always done on an outpatient basis, the recovery process following nerve decompression surgery varies based on the exact nerves targeted for decompression. Generally, there will be a degree of post-operative bruising and swelling in the incision area as a result of tissue alterations. These will be at their most severe on day two or day three of recovery, and then they will gradually ameliorate.
To address bruising and swelling, keep your head elevated at all times during the healing process. It will also help to hold a cold compress against the affected area.
After around two weeks have passed, you can return to most of your usual activities. Make sure to avoid physically taxing activities like sports and heavy exercise for at least four weeks, since these activities can raise blood pressure. An increase in blood pressure can lead to a prolonged healing process and an increase in swelling.
Arrange Your Consultation
To learn more about nerve decompression for headaches, Dallas patients can arrange an informative consultation with Dr. Nader Pouratian. Set up your appointment by contacting our office today.