LONDON, June 27 /PRNewswire/ --

A new clinic has opened in London today (Friday 27 June 2008), offering for the first time, a surgical approach to migraine. The Migraine Surgery Centre brings hope to the six million people in the UK who suffer from migraine attacks.

Migraine is a complex condition with a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from painful headache to disturbed vision. Attacks can last anywhere between four to 72 hours(1), during which time sufferers often have no choice but to lie still in a darkened room.

The surgical approach to migraine was discovered in the USA in the year 2000 in a clinical study involving 314 patients. Surgeons removed the corrugator muscle, a small muscle around the eyebrow, in order to eliminate 'frown lines'. Prior to the procedure, 39 of the 314 patients had experienced migraine. One year after surgery, 31 of these 39 patients reported that their migraine had either disappeared completely or diminished considerably. Since then, a number of studies have been conducted on the efficacy of operative migraine therapy(2),(3),(4),(5), which have demonstrated that:

- 35 per cent of patients experienced complete relief from migraine symptoms one year after migraine surgery. - In a further 57 per cent of patients, the frequency of the attacks and the intensity of the pain were reduced by more than half following the procedure.

The Migraine Procedure is the only approach that doesn't start with the symptoms but rather the cause of the migraine, and is based on the finding that many migraine attacks are triggered by an interaction between the corrugator muscle and the trigeminal nerve, located above the eyebrows. Since not all migraines are triggered at these points, migraine surgery will not be suitable for all migraine sufferers, and so the patient selection process is key to the success of the procedure.

The Migraine Procedure incorporates a series of defined steps: - Patient completes a questionnaire to determine the trigger points for their migraine. - If it is established that the patient's migraines are likely to be triggered by the corrugator muscle, the patient receives an injection of botulinum toxin type A (commonly marketed as Botox), which effectively paralyses the muscle that triggers the migraine attacks. - If, after a period of eight weeks, the patient has experienced a significant improvement in migraine symptoms following the botulinum toxin injection, the patient is offered the surgical procedure, which removes the muscle that triggers the migraine attack. - In addition to relief from migraine symptoms, removal of the migraine-triggering muscle causes the frown lines situated between the eyebrows to soften, and in most cases, to disappear.

Commenting on the findings of the study, Professor Thomas Muehlberger, clinical director of the Migraine Surgery Centre said:

"Over the years, there have been many developments in migraine treatments, ranging from over the counter pain-killers to prescription drugs. These treatments provide symptomatic relief, but they do not address the cause of the migraine and so the attacks occur just as frequently as before. Although the Migraine Procedure will not be suitable for all patients, it will offer many of those affected a real chance of freeing themselves from their migraines completely or at least reducing the severity and frequency of their attacks".

Treatment of migraine with botulinum toxin type A has been an established procedure in the USA for some years and is increasing in popularity in the UK as well. Paralysis of individual muscles in the forehead and head area by botulinum toxin type A can deliver relief from migraine symptoms, however, this relief is only temporary and needs to be repeated once every three months to have a lasting effect.

Denise Richardson, originally from London, experienced the effects of the Migraine Procedure after contacting Professor Muehlberger's Berlin-based Migraine Centre:

"About four years ago, it got to the point where I was having headaches every few days. The pain was virtually unbearable and even strong prescription painkillers had no effect. After contacting the Migraine Centre, I was sent a questionnaire to complete. Based on my answers I was assessed as being a good candidate for the botulinum toxin test that could lead to a possible procedure. Following the injection, my headaches decreased to about 3 in 8 weeks with a low pain rating; obviously a good indication that subsequent surgery would be successful. Based on this result, I decided to go ahead...

"The most wonderful thing is that since the operation I have had no headaches at all. My forehead is tension and line-free and my quality of life has improved beyond anything I could possibly have imagined. I can now concentrate better at work and I have the old happy, energetic 'me' back again".

Notes to Editors

Migraine Facts - Migraine is the most common neurological condition in the developed world: it is more prevalent than asthma, epilepsy and diabetes combined(6) - Migraine is extremely common, affecting 12-28% of people at some point in their lives(7) - Almost six million people in the UK have migraine, with an estimated 190,000 migraine attacks occurring every day(8) - Over half (54%) of migraineurs experience one or more attacks per month, and 13% claim one or more attacks per week(1)

For online information please visit

Associate Prof. Dr. Thomas Muehlberger studied medicine in Munich, Berlin and Boston, USA. He completed surgical training at Oxford and Cambridge, England and underwent plastic surgery training at The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA.

--------------------------------- (1) The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd Edition (2) Guyuron B, Kriegler JS, Davis J, Amini SB (January 2005). Comprehensive surgical treatment of migraine headaches. Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 115 (1): 1-9. (3) Bearden WH, Anderson RL. Corrugator superciliaris muscle excision for tension and migraine headaches. Ophtal Plast Reconstr Surg 2005; 21: 418-422 (4) Dirnberger F, Becker K. Surgical treatment of migraine headaches by corrugator muscle resection. Plast Reconstr Surg 2004; 114: 652-657 (5) Guyuron B, Varghai A, Michelow BJ, Thomas T, Davis JR. Corrugator supercilii muscle resection and migraine headaches. Plast Reconstr Surg 2000; 106: 429-434 (6) The Migraine Trust. Factsheet 8. The Facts About Migraine (7) Stovner et al. (2006). "Epidemiology of headache in Europe". Eur. J. Neurol. 13 (4): 333-45 (8) Steiner et al, Cephalagia, 2003

LONDON, June 27 /PRNewswire/ --

The Migraine Surgery Centre is located at 10 Harley Street, London W1G 9PF. For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Linda Rose, Zomi Communications on +44(0)20-7281-3061 or at