Nasal Surgery May Help Chronic Headache Sufferers


Headaches are nothing new for many people in Las Vegas. An occasional dull ache is one thing, but when headaches are persistent, they can severely impact your quality of life. While there are many possible causes of chronic headaches, some individuals might find relief from nasal surgery.

Relieving Obstructed Breathing Could Help Tame Headaches

nasal surgery may help headache sufferers

Factors as diverse as stress, poor posture, alcohol and skipped meals can all cause headaches. Obstructed breathing is another common cause; a research team from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, set out to learn whether nasal surgery to correct breathing obstructions might benefit headache sufferers.

The group was led by Ahmed M. Afifi, MD, and examined the results of 39 separate studies following 1,577 patients who’d gone under the knife. The procedure they were given, functional nasal surgery, was used to target “contact points” within the nose and sinuses—key areas that serve as trigger points for chronic headaches. This procedure is often performed in conjunction with functional nasal surgery to relieve obstructed breathing, asthma symptoms and obstructive sleep apnea. It commonly involves straightening a deviated septum or removing excess sinus tissue. Around half of the procedures involved endoscopic sinus surgery, a common treatment for patients suffering from chronic sinus infections.

What Where The Results of the study?

The results, published in last December’s issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, found that 85 percent of patients undergoing the nasal surgery procedure experienced at least a partial reduction in the number of headaches from which they suffered afterward. Nearly half (48 percent) reported their headaches were cured and another 37 percent noted improvements in the severity and/or frequency of headaches. A much smaller group, 15 percent, did not experience any changes in symptoms.

Another group of studies showed that patients undergoing functional nasal surgery noticed a drop in the number of overall days they experienced headaches; they had previously averaged 22 days a month, but after surgery, that number was reduced to only six. There was also a corresponding drop in the severity of pain associated with their headaches. Those patients who were given a nasal surgery procedure that uses a local anesthetic nerve block or underwent endoscopic sinus surgery were most likely to experience a positive outcome.

The study performed by Dr. Afifi’s research team is the first to gather data from multiple studies and find that surgery on nasal mucosal contact points can be an effective option for certain groups of patients experiencing chronic headaches. There is a definite connection between the anatomy of the nasal passages and headache feedback loops; this research underscores the importance of detailed diagnostic testing to identify patients who are the best candidates for functional nasal surgery procedures.

To learn more about headaches and treatment solutions, please get in touch with an ear, nose and throat specialist in Las Vegas.