Occipital Nerve Stimulation for Migraine: A Systematic Review

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▪ Abstract:Patients who suffer from migraines often report impaired quality of life. Occipital nerve stimulation (ONS) is a novel treatment modality for migraines, although few systematic reviews have evaluated whether this therapy is efficacious. The objective of this study was to evaluate the clinical efficacy and safety of ONS for treating migraine through a literature review. We performed a literature search to identify studies that investigated ONS for migraine treatment. Evidence levels of these studies were assessed by recommendations set by the University of Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. Five randomized controlled trials, 4 retrospective studies, and one prospective study met the inclusion criteria. Results from the retrospective studies and case series indicated that ONS significantly reduced the pain intensity and the number of days with headache in patients with migraine. However, the evidence of ONS efficacy established by randomized controlled trials was limited. Improvement in the migraine disability assessment (MIDAS) score was more dramatic than improvement in the SF-36 score at follow-up. The mean complication incidence of ONS was 66% for the reviewed studies. Future clinical studies should optimize and standardize the ONS intervention process and identify the relationship among the surgical process, efficacy, and complications resulting from the procedure.

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