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Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences 2012 December;56(4):307-12

language: English

Occipital nerve stimulation for primary headaches

Young W. B., Silberstein S. D.

Department of Neurology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA


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Occipital nerve stimulation may be effective for primary headache disorders. Four studies, including two double-blind show, stimulation-controlled studies that were performed for chronic migraine showed evidence of benefit. A separate study suggested a benefit for combined supraorbital and greater occipital nerve stimulation. Anecdotal evidence suggests benefit in hemicrania continua. In chronic cluster headache, several case series have shown improvement, which, combined with the safety of occipital nerve stimulation relative to deep brain stimulation, have led to published reports supporting this as the preferred surgical technique for chronic cluster headache. A few case reports suggest a possible benefit in short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks with conjunctival injection tearing and short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache.

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stephen.silberstein@jefferson.edu