Headache and Migraine Surgery

Clinical Services: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Upper East Side
525 East 68th Street, Starr 8
New York, NY 10065
Upper East Side
425 East 61st Street, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10065
Northwest Brooklyn
506 Sixth Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Northwest Brooklyn
515 6th Street
Brooklyn, New York 11215

Headache, migraine, occipital neuralgia, cervicalgia, and facial pain can result from compression of nerves surrounding the head and face. Once these nerves are irritated or stimulated in some way, they can trigger a chain reaction culminating in a migraine/ headache attack.

Headache surgery is meant for patients with this type of nerve compression. The most appropriate surgical approach is determined from the sites where your headaches are triggered. Not all headache patients are surgical candidates. The ideal candidate has exhausted traditional headache treatments with limited or no success.

Migraine/ headache symptoms may involve nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light along with debilitating headaches. For headache relief, you may find yourself avoiding certain triggers at home and at work, as you search for the right combination of behavioral and pharmacological solutions. Weill Cornell Medicine plastic surgeons can help ease your migraines/ headaches through surgical (nerve decompression) and non-surgical (nerve blocks and Botox) procedures, getting you back to doing the things you love.

Why Choose Weill Cornell Medicine for Headache Surgery?

Exemplary surgeons: Our patients select Weill Cornell Medicine because our surgeons are leaders in plastic and reconstructive surgery and our care team is equipped to promote comfort throughout the process. Our compassionate surgeons are highly skilled in performing the most advanced surgical options, to treat headaches. Weill Cornell Medicine partners with NewYork-Presbyterian, one of the top hospital systems in New York City and the U.S.

Personalized care: All surgical treatments are designed to meet your individual needs. Our plastic and reconstructive surgeons are highly skilled and able to provide a long-term solution for patients who are severely or chronically affected by headaches.

Focus on your comfort: Our team prioritizes your comfort at every step in the process. Before your surgery, you will have time to ask your doctor questions so that you feel confident that the surgery is the right choice for you. In state-of-the-art surgical suites, our surgeons use the latest anesthetics and medications that help you recover more quickly and heal faster.

After the surgery, our care team will manage your pain with medication and teach you how to care for yourself as you heal and recover.

Multidisciplinary care from leading experts: When you choose Weill Cornell Medicine, you have access to a network of doctors and specialists. Your team will help you achieve optimal health and well-being so that you can enjoy the life you want.

Trigger Point Diagnosis

Weill Cornell Medicine plastic and reconstructive surgeons can offer you a permanent solution—surgical deactivation of migraine headache trigger sites. This procedure which can be performed ambulatory (or outpatient) identifies and treats your migraines/ headaches. By freeing your nerves from surrounding tissues, your plastic and reconstructive surgeon can permanently deactivate your migraine trigger points around your head and face. We classify and treat your migraine disease based on the trigger point part of your head where the pain starts. It is important to note that the following pain patterns are examples as you may experience pain in other distributions:

Forehead migraines—Originate between the eyes or above the eyebrows. The treatment is surgical deactivation. This involves a procedure similar to a cosmetic forehead lift and targets muscles and nerves with an upper eyelid or hairline incision.


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Nasal migraines—Originate behind the eyes and nose. Treatment is surgical deactivation. This involves surgery of the septum or sinuses to correct a deviated septum or other causes of pressurized nasal discomfort.


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Nummular headache- Originate anywhere on the head. Typically a small round or elliptical area of pain. Treatment is surgical deactivation. This targets small nerves around the head.


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Occipital migraines—Originate at the back of the neck. Treatment is surgical deactivation. This  targets the greater, lesser and third occipital nerves and associated triggers of the back of the neck.

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Temporal migraines—Originate at your temples and may involve grinding of your teeth and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) discomfort. Treatment is surgical deactivation. This surgery requires an upper eyelid incision if you are also suffering from forehead pain, or a  hairline incision if the pain only affects the temples.


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Weill Cornell Medicine's Dr. Lisa Gfrerer explains each headache in more detail. Watch our videos to learn more.


Make an Appointment and Fill out Screening

Please complete the following surveys to help us determine if you are a candidate for headache surgery:

Part 1: Please complete our screening survey online.
Part 2: Download and complete our pain location form and email the results to: meh4012@med.cornell.edu

We know that you want the highest level of care and safety for your surgery. Our expanded Digital Health Services and commitment to cleanliness help ensure that you can continue your care to achieve optimum health.

Whether you visit us virtually through a video visit or you see us in person, you can be assured that we will deliver the highest standards of care with compassion. Our team has taken every step to keep our facilities safe for you to continue your care. Learn more about our safety measures and the changes we’ve made to enhance your patient experience.

What to Expect During Your First Appointment

Knowing what to expect can help you get the most out of your visit. Our goal is to give you a realistic picture of what to expect so that you can make an informed decision. When you arrive, we’ll start with a review of your complete medical history and medications, vitamins and herbal supplements that you take as well as dosages.

Next, you’ll discuss your treatment goals with us and review care options. We’ll help you understand the benefits and risks of each option, and then help you determine the best choices for you. Then, we’ll work together to create a personalized plan that helps you meet your goals. If other services or specialists are needed, we’ll connect you.

Meet Our Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons

The plastic and reconstructive surgeons at Weill Cornell Medicine offer patients the highest level of safety and care. As a top-ranked academic medical center, you have access to our extensive network of specialists who provide seamless care throughout your treatment — to promote integrated physical and mental health.



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