Migraine Surgery – Dr. Christopher Khorsandi – Las Vegas


[Dr. Christopher Khorsandi] I’m excited to
be part of this pioneering field of migraine surgery. What we’re able to do is give patients
their life back, and as a physician that’s one of the most satisfying things that you
can do. I became involved in the field of migraine surgery approximately 5 years ago
upon meeting Dr. Bahman Guyuron, the founder of the field. My brother Mark and I received
training directly from Dr. Guyuron at Case Western University, and over the past 5 years
we’ve been working to improve our techniques so that you may find relief from your migraines. [Dr. Mark Khorsandi] It’s an honor to be a
doctor, but then it’s also amazing that we were lucky enough to be brothers that could
work together. [Dr. Christopher Khorsandi] Have the same
interests and kind of a passion for making this surgery something that people can turn
to reliably as an option. I think part of the job that we have is not only to treat
our patients, but to inform patients of treatment, and that’s what we hope to do today. [Davita] I’ve been dealing with the migraines
for about 7 years, and I have taken almost every medication on the market for migraines,
and then all the alternative therapies. I’ve done herbs and vitamins and homeopathic medications.
I’ve taken medications that’s given to horses for inflammation. Every prescription antidepressant,
anti-neuroleptic, anti-seizure medication. You name if, I’ve taken it. The past couple
of years when the migraines became almost daily, my life basically ended. I didn’t go
anywhere, I didn’t do anything. I spent most of my time in bed. My children would come
home from school, daycare, every day, and they would say … Sorry. They were 4 and 5, and they would ask, “Mom,
do you have a headache today?” and they would be whispering. That became an everyday event
for them, which made me feel terrible. But the light bothered me, the sound bothered
me, everything, and I was in pain constantly, so I didn’t have much choice but to stay in
the bedroom in the dark. My husband had to basically do everything. [Chris] There’d just be times I just, “Is
she ever going to get any better?” [Davita] I was in a big depression. I didn’t
see any end in sight. I thought my life was over, basically. What is kind of eye-opening
is the fact that I’m a nurse and I am very knowledgeable in the medical field, and it
still took me time to find this procedure. I found the Migraine Relief Center because
I was searching on the internet for anything and everything to try to fix my migraines.
The type of personality and the compassion that Dr. Khorsandi has for patients is like
none other I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been in the medical field for a long time. That was
amazing. Right then I knew that he was the one that I wanted to take care of me. [Chris] The surgery just … I don’t believe
in miracles, but it was a miracle. [Davita] By the time I woke up, I already
had two black eyes and my face was swollen, but I was smiling form ear to ear because
I went in the surgery with a migraine and I came out without one, and that was amazing.
Now the difference in what I can do … It wasn’t even a week after the surgery and I
was up and we were running and playing. I still had staples in my head and we were going
to birthday parties. I felt wonderful and wanted to take my kids to do everything that
I could. I was trying to make up for lost time. [Chris] The biggest deal is I got my wife
back. [Davita] Dr. K saved my life, because my life
was over is how I saw it. [Chris] Yup. [Dr. Christopher Khorsandi] Migraine surgery
represents a paradigm shift in the treatment of migraines. For decades, the pharmaceutical
industry has dominated this field with billions of dollars in drugs and R&D which are ineffective
at completely treating migraines. Talk to any migraine sufferer and they’ll tell you
there is no magic bullet in any pill. But what we’re doing here is life-changing, and
no medication can do that. We’re bringing patients relief from their medications and
from their migraines. [Cynthia] I was very stressed out. I was going
through a very stressful time in my life. That’s when I started getting some headaches.
Then they developed into migraines, and eventually into a complex migraine. All of my family
members were affected. It affected my children. They were sad and depressed by seeing me having
these severe migraines where I couldn’t basically move nor stand up and do things for myself.
It also affected my marriage, so much that after just 3 months of marriage, my husband
decided that he couldn’t be with me anymore so he filed for divorce. I guess he thought
my seizures and this stage in my life were permanent and that I had no cure. He didn’t
want to be stuck with me, is basically what it is. When you are experiencing the kind of pain
that I was in and trying to describe it to people, many of them just wouldn’t understand,
or I think that to some extent they would think I was making it up. But when I went
to Dr. Khorsandi, he was able to immediately pinpoint my problem areas. As soon as he saw
me, he said, “Does it hurt here? Does it hurt here?” I cried, because I’m like, “Oh my God,
somebody understands.” After seeking so much advice and help and treatments, I was skeptical
and I didn’t that the results would be so dramatic, but they have been. They have been
life-altering, life-changing. Immediately after the surgery I felt some
relief. A couple days later, I was practically back to normal. I’m still under recovery,
but my son did actually say, “Mom, you’re doing much better. That’s awesome.” They also
mentioned that my scars, you could barely tell, so that’s another big thing. The cost
of the surgery is, when you compare it to everything you gain back, it’s relatively
small. It’s priceless to me in reality, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. [Dr. Christopher Khorsandi] At the Migraine
Relief Center, we take our time with each patient to identify and locate their source
of migraines. In general, there are 4 common sites of migraines, and their triggers points
are the supraorbital area above the eyes, and generally these headaches radiate from
above the eyes and upwards. We have the temporal migraines which start on the side of the head,
and these, again, will start here and migrate towards the top. The third type is the occipital,
and they begin at the base of the neck, at the base of the skull, and go up and over
the top of the head. The fourth type of migraine headache typically
presents as an aura around the eye, a periorbital migraine, that’s usually the one associated
with the most flashing lights and the most orbital sort of symptoms. That migraine originates
actually inside the nose. When we see a patient, we really want to pinpoint whether it’s 1,
2, 3, or all of these areas, and it’s common for patients to have combinations. Once we
identify this, then we can form a game plan. LaDwan] I was experiencing migraine headaches
on a daily basis, everyday, all day. Dealing with a migraine headache, you can’t do anything.
It would cause me to be reclusive, to the point to where I didn’t want to get out of
bed because I really couldn’t. I couldn’t digest food because I was so nauseous. It
was just debilitating. That’s just about it, really and truly. I had been taking medicine
after medicine after medicine, and it was just a temporary relief. I wanted something
for the long haul. I had the surgery March 4th, 2013, and after
I got out of the surgery I have had maybe one headache, one, that’s it. It did wonders.
I have my life back. I have my life back. I can plan things now and go forward with
them. I can be with my family. I can be with my friends. That’s it. [Dr. Christopher Khorsandi] One of the common
misconceptions about migraine surgery is that it’s brain surgery. It’s not, it’s nerve surgery,
and there’s a big difference here. Brain surgery means that we’re operating on the brain itself.
Migraine surgery, we’re operating on the nerves around the scalp of the head. Much less invasive.
It’s amenable to out-patient surgery, and it’s really a minimal downtime procedure. [Lewis] We came in here to try to get some
help for Jacob. He’s been having migraine headaches for a long, long time, and it’s
gotten to a place where he was having multiple headaches a week and missing a lot of school.
We tried a lot of other things to try to help Jacob out, but it wasn’t working for him.
He was getting worse instead of better. [Susan] He spent many nights just curled up
with a pillow in the bathroom because of his migraines. [Lewis] Because he was afraid he was going
to be nauseous, he would try to stay in the bathroom and even sleep there sometimes because
of that. We were very glad that Dr. Khorsandi agreed to see Jacob. Because we had been so
many different places and do so many different things already, it was, I don’t want to say
it was the last straw, but really we were getting to where we were running out of options
of things that we could do, so we were very hopeful that Dr. Khorsandi would be able to
offer something that would actually produce some positive results for Jacob. [Susan] Surgery makes everybody nervous, but
it went really smoothly and quickly and he recovered pretty quickly. [Lewis] He has not had a migraine headache
since the surgery, and I guess the pain that he experienced he didn’t describe being any
worse than the headaches had been. [Moderator] Did you notice a difference after
the surgery? [Jacob] That I wasn’t having bad headaches
anymore. [Moderator] Did other people notice it around
you? [Jacob] Yes, they did. [Susan] It was just awesome to take him to
school and not get a call from the nurse an hour or two later. It’s just amazing. It’s
great. [Lewis] I’ve been concerned, and I know Susan
has too, about the number of drugs that Jacob’s been taking. It’s great to have him off of
all of that. What did your teacher say to you? [Jacob] They told my mom that I was like a
whole different person. [Dr. Christopher Khorsandi] It’s important
to identify whether or not you are a candidate for the surgery. When you come to our offices,
we’ll take a thorough history and physical exam and learn about the nature of your individual
migraines. We’d like to know the time, the onset, the location, and any triggers that
occur when you have your migraines. In knowing these factors, we’ll be able to determined
whether or not our treatments are right for you. [Jeremy] For these 16 years I’ve had off and
on headaches, and then 10 months ago in the middle of July of 2012, they started everyday
all day. It was just unimaginable pain. After 4 months and going to all these doctors and
then the first neurologist dropping my case, I lost all hope. Every day I’d wake up just
feeling that pain again. I hung myself because the pain was so bad. I had no idea how bad
my thought process was. All you think about every day is just making the pain stop. On
the way up here she told me that he was going to be doing Botox injections, and I was like,
“You’ve got to be kidding me, I’m not getting no Botox injections. That’s stupid.” But as
soon as I got those injections, like immediately, I started to feel relief. I was totally dumbfounded, because it had
been so long since I’d had any kind of relief. We talked to Dr. Khorsandi, and he’s like,
“Let’s do the surgery, let’s do the surgery.” He goes, “I really can help you.” It was the
most awesome thing when I woke up from surgery, that pain that had been killing me for 8 months
was gone, man. I’ve been recovering over these past couple of months and I’m doing things
again. I find myself smiling for odd reasons every once in a while. I’m being a part of
stuff again. When you’re having these headaches, your body, it no longer becomes the vessel
that you’re traveling through life, it becomes your prison, and you’re just enslaved to this
pain. All you want is this pain to go away. Man, I’m so happy, because this surgery has
helped me and my pain’s going away. It’s awesome. I just want more people to know about this,
that some people they, like me, you end up getting hopeless and thinking there is no
help, and I don’t want nobody to go through the stuff that I went through. [Dr. Christopher Khorsandi] Many patients
ask us what the postoperative course for migraine relief surgery is like. When we talk to our
patients they often say, “Well, I haven’t had a migraine, but I do feel some soreness,”
and that’s expected. The soreness is usually in the area of the incisions, and last about
4 to 6 weeks. This type of pain most patients describe that is well controlled with over
the counter medications such as Advil and Tylenol. It’s far different than the migraines
they experienced in the past. [Dr. Christopher Khorsandi] We’re ready tomorrow
for surgery. [Anna] Yes. [Dr. Christopher Khorsandi] Are you excited? [Anna] I am. I’m very excited, I’m very hopeful.
I see a light at the end of the tunnel again, and it’s exciting. [Dr. Khorsandi] It’s been non-stop for you,
right? [Anna] It has. I think there’s been a few
days where it’s not as bad, but for the most part, every day, all the time. I will wake
up in the morning, and it’s not a question of, “Do you have a headache or do you not
have a headache?” It’s a question of, “Yes, I have a headache, of course I have a headache.
How bad is it? How functional am I going to be? Am I going to throw up or am I going to
lay in bed?” [Dr. Christopher Khorsandi] What’s a good
day for you? [Anna] A good day is usually when I don’t
puke or cry. That’s a good day. I’m going to put it this way, I think a lot of us with
migraine disease, we personalize it, like it’s, I don’t want to say it’s my friend,
but it’s another personality. My migraine monster has four heads. The first is ice picks
in my eyes, and right now I have ice picks that are pointing this way, this way, and
this way right behind my eyes. Then, I have the vice grip, and that’s in my temples where
someone’s just tightening it down right here. Then, the third head on my migraine monster
is in the back right at the base of my skull, and it’s just being squeezed, just like somebody’s
stepping on it and grinding their heel into the back of my head. Then, the fourth head
on my migraine monster is a pressure headache. The way I describe it is when you’re in an
airplane and your ears plug up, it’s like that, only it never goes away. [Dr. Christopher Khorsandi] Do you remember
any of the medications that you’ve been on? [Anna] At first, I was really afraid to take
the pain meds, because you always hear about how people get hooked on prescription drugs.
I think my husband could tell you that when we first met I was in a lot of pain, only
I wouldn’t take you meds because I knew they were narcotic and I didn’t want to get hooked
on them. I just met the man of my dreams, he’s going to think I’m a drug addict. It
started out with those, and then, when those stopped working or started to mess with my
stomach, then came the antidepressants. Then came the anti-seizure medicine. Muscle relaxants,
those knocked me out. Sleeping medication. There’s stuff in my medicine cabinet that
I think, “Oh, my gosh, it would be so easy to accidentally … [Dr. Christopher Khorsandi] Mix. [Anna] … mix them up. None of them really
work. All of them had weird side effects that were scary. As a patient, you don’t really
know, what are my limits? [Dr. Christopher Khorsandi] You were very
active in work beforehand? You had a high-stress job before you really started having migraines? [Anna] Yes. I’ve got a master’s degree in
test engineering. I was working for a gaming company here in town, and I was running a
lab. I had 21 people who reported to me. It finally got to the point where I couldn’t
work. I lost my job over this disease. I couldn’t keep up with it. Yeah, I had to leave my career,
and that’s been very hard. [Dr. Christopher Khorsandi] I’m very sorry
about that. [Anna] My whole life, I work. I didn’t have
kids. I wanted a career instead, and I poured my heart and soul into everything that I did,
and then when that’s taken away from you, it makes you feel horrible, like you’re lazy
or you’re stupid. It didn’t help with the stigma of this disease. [Anna] I’m 50 years old and I finally met
this guy and he’s awesome and he’s been such a blessing in my life, but at the same time
I feel like I’m not good enough for him because I’m defective. I want to be able to do so
much, and we just can’t. [Dr. Christopher Khorsandi] The success we’re
seeing with the surgery is very encouraging, it’s very satisfying, and it makes you believe
that we can really change people’s lives. [Anna] This is my little hobby that I really
love. It’s making glass beads. For so long I couldn’t be creative because I felt so miserable,
but now I feel good. Now I can go back and do all the things that I love to do. Voila,
a little bead with little blue polka dots on it. Last night was a huge milestone for
me. In the bathroom I have the red bag, and the red bag is basically this big giant lunch
bag full of medications. I must have had over 2 dozen bottles of different drugs. Last night
I went into the bathroom and I dumped out the red bag of drugs. An awesome feeling of
freedom. I haven’t felt this good in so long. It still
amazes me how well things have been going after the surgery. I couldn’t have dreamed
a better outcome. [Dr. Christopher Khorsandi] The surgery that
we do has immediate results. In following the patient to the recovery room, many times
we find them in a state of almost disbelief. [Anna] I remember opening my eyes, and the
first thing I said was, “Where is it?” The nurse said, “Where is what?” I said, “I can’t
find it.” She said, “What?” I said, “My migraine.” I go, “It’s gone. I can’t find it, I can’t
find it.” [Dr. Christopher Khorsandi] There’s this kind
of new awakening that occurs of tiptoeing again into the world and being part of it,
whereas previously they were separate, they were kept apart, not by any physical restraints,
but by their own pain and suffering. Migraine relief surgery has changed lives, and we continue
to do this on a daily basis and we’re proud of our achievements here. Hopefully, our patients’
stories will convince you that what we do here will change your life.

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