• Endonasal contact point;
  • headache;
  • surgery


Objective Some migraine and cluster headaches may be triggered by stimulation of intranasal contact points via the trigeminovascular system. Endonasal surgery is successful in some patients, but long-term outcomes have not been reported.

Study Design Prospective

Methods This investigation included 20 patients with a mean 18-year history of refractory cluster or migraine headaches who were selected for surgery. All had endoscopically visible endonasal contact as well as a positive preoperative cocaine test result. Changes in pain severity and frequency and duration of headache attacks were statistically rated using a MANOVA. Follow-up averaged 112 months.

Results Almost 10 years after surgery, six patients remained completely free of pain, seven had significant symptom improvement, and seven received no benefit from surgery (65% improvement). Two patients had been free of all symptoms for 7 and 8 years, respectively, before complaints returned.

Conclusion Our data suggest that some patients with refractory headaches and endonasal contact areas benefit from surgery, thereby supporting the existence of a connection between the two. Even though it is clear that surgery should be considered only if all other treatments have failed, a success rate of 65% over almost 10 years justifies evaluation of this option. Preoperative patient selection remains crucial and warrants further investigation.