Three patients with typical (common) migraine unresponsive to conventional therapy were evaluated with complete otolaryngologic examination, diagnostic nasal endoscopy, and coronal sinus computed tomography (CT). Enlargement of the superior turbinate due to pneumatization, with accompanying mucosal contact, was found in each case. Application of topical or injected anesthetic to the superior turbinate lessened or relieved headache, and subsequent endoscopic sinonasal surgery succeeded in providing significant headache relief (follow-up of 6 to 14 months). This is the first report of superior turbinate variations/abnormalities causing migraine, or indeed any type of headache. A discussion of the mechanism of referred pain from mucosal contact is offered after a discussion of each case.
Laryngoscope, 106:874-879, 1996