Can You Answer Some General Questions About Migraine Surgery?

Q: Dr. Eppley, Since you are experienced in migraine surgery, would you mind answering a few questions? 1) How does surgery for migraines work? 2) How many people undergo the surgery? 3) How often does it work? 4) What are the costs? 5) Is it covered by insurance? 6) What should people try before undergoing the surgery? 7) Why are you the only doctor in Indiana who performs this surgery?

A: In answer to your questions:

1) Migraine surgery works on the principle of sensory nerve decompression by removing the constructing muscles around the nerves, known as trigger points. I would recommend you go to to learn more or go to and search under migraine surgery where the details of surgery are discussed in multiple blogs in detail.

2) Migraine surgery is for those patients who have very specific types of migraines that have been fully worked up and treated by a neurologist and have received either no or little relief. Surgical candidates are chosen either based on their response to Botox injections or by their migraine history.

3) The one and five year results show that over 70% of people experience significant and sustained relief. About 30% of patients are cured and subsequently experience no or few migraines again. About 10% of patients experience only temporary relief and long-term do not show significant improvement.

4) Costs are based on how many migraine trigger sites are released and the time to do the surgery. Costs could range from $3500 to $8,000.

5) It is usually not covered by insurance. Insurance companies, despite the overwheling evdience, feel that it is still ‘experimental surgery’.

6) As per #2 above.

7) Migraine surgery is usually done by plastic surgeons who express an interest to treat this medical condition. The surgical techniques used are common to board-certified plastic surgeons and come from procedures learned from cosmetic and craniofacial surgery, microsurgery and hand surgery.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana