Have migraines? New treatment now offered in Portland - KPTV - FOX 12

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Have migraines? New treatment now offered in Portland

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The nerve stimulator and electrode used in the Omega procedure. The nerve stimulator and electrode used in the Omega procedure.
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

There’s a new treatment being offered for migraines and Portland is one of only six places in the country where you can get it.

It’s called the Omega procedure, and it’s offered through the Migraine Treatment Centers of America.

It involves a nerve stimulator being implanted under the skin that connects to electrode wires placed along major nerves in the head that signal pain.

“The device, by giving little pulses of electricity, jams the pain signal if you will, and replaces the pain signal with a tingling sensation,” Dr. Mehmet Berk told Fox 12.  “The incisions are invisible, the implant itself is invisible… it is life-changing for most patients.”

Dr. Berk said it’s only a last resort for patients who have chronic, debilitating headaches and for whom medications or injections haven’t helped.

The procedure has yet to be done in Portland, but 8,000 people across the country have taken part.

Deb Spencer is one of them.

She had debilitating migraines nearly every day for 30 years.

“I used to dread waking up in the morning,” she told Fox 12.

But in the year since her surgery, Spencer said she’s gotten her life back.

“I’ve gone from having five migraines a week down to maybe having two to three a month, and even then they’re very mild,” she added. “This is something that definitely works.”

Dr. Berk said the wires never need to be replaced, but the nerve stimulator does every nine years.  Patients then have a remote control to operate the device and charge it – all through the skin.

While it may not work for everyone, patients undergo a trial before deciding to have the surgery.

To learn more, visit www.migrainecenters.com.

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