Many plastic surgeons are slow to embrace migraine surgery, according to a study in the March 2012 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
By and large, plastic surgeons are aware of studies that show the effectiveness of migraine surgery, and at least some are interested in performing the procedure, but they still perceive "significant barriers" to its use. Migraine surgery targets and removes muscle tissue or nerves in the area that triggered the migraines.
Of 200 plastic surgeons who responded to a survey, just 18% said they had performed migraine surgery. Of those who did, more than 80% said it worked.
Most plastic surgeons were at least "somewhat familiar" with studies reporting on the effectiveness of migraine surgery, and 60% said they would be interested in offering migraine surgery if an appropriate patient were referred to them by a board certified neurologist.
Many of the surgeons surveyed felt they weren’t familiar enough with the technique –or with migraine in general–to perform the procedure. Most were unaware that migraine surgery is covered by some major health insurers, including Medicare, the new study showed.
"Increased referral of suitable patients by neurologists and improved familiarity with the concept and techniques of migraine surgery may motivate more plastic surgeons to perform migraine surgery," said study author Theodore A. Kung of University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, in a press release. Kung and coauthors call for "appropriately designed clinical trials" to confirm the benefits of migraine surgery.
The study did have its share of limitations namely the very low survey response rate. The survey was originally sent to 3,500 plastic surgeons.