What Is The Reed Procedure®?

The Reed Procedure®: A Potentially Permanent Surgical Migraine Treatment

The Reed Procedure® peripheral nerve stimulation migraine treatment is a type of migraine surgery that was developed by Kenneth Reed, M.D. specifically for the treatment of chronic, severe migraine headaches. In the Reed Procedure®, an implantable neurostimulator device is placed underneath the skin at the target areas to control the migraine headache. His technique, involving occipital and supraorbital nerve stimulation, is documented successful in more than 80 percent of patients who suffer from severe migraine headaches that haven’t responded to traditional migraine treatments.

Visualize The Reed Procedure®

The following schematic images of the Reed Procedure® show where the peripheral nerve stimulator device is implanted in the head to control severe migraine headaches. The components of the stimulator used in the Reed Procedure® are connected together via thin wires and include:

• Two leads superficially implanted right underneath the skin along the supraorbital nerves above each eyebrow

• Two leads superficially implanted right underneath the skin along the occipital nerves in the back of the head

• A battery/pulse generator device superficially implanted right underneath the skin on the left side of the chest

While the leads, battery, and connecting wires are superficially implanted right underneath the skin, it is essential to note that they are not externally visible. People can’t even tell that our patients have an implanted stimulator unless told otherwise.

Reed Procedure Schematic - Front View

Reed Procedure® – Front View

Reed Procedure Schematic - Back View

Reed Procedure® – Back View

Reed Procedure Schematic - Side View

Reed Procedure® – Side View

How The Reed Procedure® Controls Migraine Headaches

The underlying mechanism of the Reed Procedure® is the electrical stimulation of superficial nerves in the head that are significantly involved in the migraine headache process.

Patients can turn the neurostimulator device on and off using a remote control. For example, they usually turn the stimulator on when they start to feel the symptoms of a migraine. While the stimulator is on, the small battery pack in the patient’s chest generates electrical pulses and transmits them via thin wires to the leads implanted in the forehead and the back of the head. As a result, the patient instantly feels a pleasant tingling or massaging sensation in their head instead of pain. In addition, the patient can use the remote control to adjust the intensity of the stimulation so that it is at the appropriate level to sufficiently control the pain.

Medical studies show that while the device is stimulating the superficial nerves, it also stimulates deep brain centers related to the areas important in the modulation and genesis of migraine headaches. Thus, the neurostimulator works very safely to stop or prevent headaches from occurring altogether. An additional benefit of the procedure is that it reduces or eliminates the need for pain medication in patients who are candidates for this type of migraine treatment.

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