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Medical Articles

Ilaria Baldelli, Maria Lucia Mangialardi, Marzia Salgarello, Edoardo Raposio


Migraine headache in the occipital region is characterized by a recurrent pain of moderate to severe intensity. However, the diagnosis can be difficult because of the multitude of symptoms overlapping with similar disorders and a pathophysiology that is not well-understood. For this reason, the medical management is often complex and ineffective.  


A literature search according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines was conducted to evaluate the surgical treatment of occipital migraines. Inclusion criteria were: English language, diagnosis of migraine, occipital neuralgia, or tension headache in compliance with the classification of the International Headache Society, follow-up at minimum 3 months, and adult age. The treatment had to consist of peripheral occipital nerve surgery.  


323 records were identified after duplicates were removed, 30 full text articles were assessed for eligibility, and 9 records were selected for inclusion. A total of 1046 patients were included in the review. General positive response after surgery (>50% reduction in occipital migraine headaches) ranged from 80.0% to 94.9%. However, many differences in the selection of patients, target of decompression surgery, and measurement outcome were described.  


Despite the decennial proven effectiveness and safeness of surgical therapy for chronic occipital migraine headaches, more significant proof is needed to definitively confirm its use as a standard therapy. 

To read the full article: bit.ly/38pqXaM

doi: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000003019