Something to smile about: Woman banishes migraines… by having frown muscle removed
No frown lines: Mrs Mason said she was suffering migraines seven days a week before having her corrugator facial muscle removed
Patient claims she is now free of head pain after having surgery to remove a facial muscle
A woman has undergone radical cosmetic surgery – to end three decades of migraine misery.
Pamela Mason, 47, started getting thumping head pains when she was just 14. She was diagnosed as a regular migraine-sufferer and would be left bed-bound for days a time.
Now she says she is head-pain free after having an operation to remove the facial muscle called the corrugator, which allows us to frown.
Mrs Mason, from Witney, Oxfordshire, said: “It is wonderful. I have my life back again.
“I suffered for so long and I always thought that was just how life was going to be.
“I would spend days on end in bed, unable to move or do anything.
“I found out about the operation but discovered it was not available on the NHS or privately in the UK.
“I campaigned for a year to make it available but had no luck.
“After finding somewhere in Germany that would do it I bit the bullet and saved up the money to get it done.
“I had to do it and I am so glad I did. I can’t frown now but since I got rid of my migraines I have got nothing to frown about.”
After being diagnosed, her headaches worsened as she entered her late teens and early 20s, until the point the mother-of-two had them seven days a week.
She started up her own printing business with husband of 24 years Nick, 48, because she was taking so many sick days.
Mrs Mason was treated for years, like so many migraine sufferers, with ‘Triptan’ tablets – which cost the NHS 8 a pill. But she said these left her with a hangover that was nearly as bad as the headache itself.
Mrs Mason had her corrugator muscle removed. It is a small, narrow, pyramidal muscle, placed at inner-eye end of the eyebrow
So she looked into operations to help her and came across an article by pioneering doctor, Thomas Muehlberger, clinical director of the Migraine Surgery Centre in London.
She visited the German medic, who froze the frown muscle by injecting it with Botox to see if surgery to remove it would help ease her pains.
After six weeks of successful tests she travelled to the DRK Clinic in Berlin, where she went under the knife.
Mrs Mason said: “It doesn’t work with every type of migraine but it worked wonders with mine.
“It costs 3,500 which is a lot of money but is nothing when you compare it to the billions the government spend on treating sufferers with drugs.
“There are millions of people out there like me whose lives could be made so much better with such a simple operation.
“People say life begins at 40. For me life begins at 47.”
Husband Nick, 48, added: “This has changed both of our lives so much. I have been waiting years to see my wife happy and healthy again.”
Dr Muehlberger said: “It would have been a good investment for the NHS to pay 3,500 considering Pam otherwise would be a migraine patient consuming endless number of medication for ever.
“The fact you can test it beforehand ensures the investment is a pretty smart one.”
A spokesman for NHS Oxfordshire said: “The published evidence as to how well it works is limited and there already a wide range of treatments for migraine funded by the NHS.
“Given our limited resources we can only afford to invest in new treatments for which the evidence that they work is sufficiently strong.”
Migraines, which have been rated by the World Health Organisation as one of the top 20 most disabling lifetime conditions, cost the UK around 2.25 billion pounds year in treatments.