KIMA - Korea International Medical Association


A surgery in Hanyang University Medical Center helps relieve the intractable occipital headache

August 28,2017

Headache is a common symptom experienced by everyone at some point in time, regardless of age or sex. If symptoms are present without any specific cause, they are referred to as primary headache. If there is a specific underlying cause, it is referred to as secondary headache. Most of them can be effectively managed by medication, but if doctors cannot find any causation even with treatment applied, they are called “intractable headache”. “Most patients who cannot be cured by blood pressure therapy or analgesic have swollen veins around the second ganglion. As the blood pressure increases, these blood vessels become more swollen, which makes the ganglion more stressful”, said Dr. Ko, a professor of Neurosurgery at Hanyang University Hospital. Professor Ko has practiced ganglion decompression since 1996 to remove the blood vessels that press the ganglia, leaving the nerves intact. This innovative operation is the only operation performed by Prof. Ko in Korea, which can effectively treat headache without side effects and other complications. This procedure was published in January 2015 at Acta Neurochirurgica, a world-renowned journal. He performed ganglion decompression in 68 intractable occipital neuralgia patients following up to 5 years. During those 5 years, 55 of the 68 patients (81%) experienced no headaches and over 50% patients were relieved of having headaches. Accordingly, the operation proved to be effective in the long term <Main symptoms of intractable occipital headache> 1. Does not respond well to medication. The medications are ineffective, so various types and amounts of medication increases. 2. The headache starts mainly from the back of the head (occiput). 3. Lightly pressing the area of pain makes the headache worse. 4. When headache gets worse, the pain goes up to the head and the eyes feel like they are going to pop out. Moreover, it can cause vomiting and nausea. 5. Even if you take painkillers for 6 months or more, you cannot get over the pain.