UW-Madison treats migraines without drugs or surgery

NOW: UW-Madison treats migraines without drugs or surgery

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A new procedure called “radiofrequency ablation” is bringing relief to people who suffer from migraine headaches.

The procedure uses heat delivered via electrical stimulation through wires and probes to nerves in the head.

Dr. Alaa Abd-Elsayed, medical director, UW Health Pain Services and Pain Management Clinic, says with one visit, patients can see relief for months.

“Around a year for most of the patients we see. It can actually for some patients go for two years,” he said.

This new technique combines the use of diagnostic nerve blocks, an injection that disrupts the nerve that signals pain, as a trial in preparation for radiofrequency ablation, which is used to extend the lifespan of the block, according to Abd-Elsayed.

Radiofrequency ablation is an outpatient procedure that usually isn’t painful for patients.

“We use also a local anesthetic at the site, and remember we just poke needles and probes so there is no opening, there is no reason for massive pain or incisions or anything,” Abd-Elsayed said.

The new treatment is for people who have tried other treatments, but have not been successful in preventing migraines, or for people who want or need to discontinue the use of medications, Abd-Elsayed said.

Dr. Abd-Elsayed says he’s had inquiries from around the world on this procedure and is teaching it to other innovators.

But right now, if you are a migraine sufferer and have interest in radiofrequency ablation you have to go through Dr. Abd-Elsayed’s office at UW-Health, which can be found here.

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