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August 10, 1979

Chilling away the pain of vascular headache

JAMA. 1979;242(6):504. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03300060006002

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Physicians faced with patient complaints about the often intolerable pain of vascular headache, whether migraine, cluster, or a combination of the two, will be interested in a progress report from the field of cryosurgery.

Cryotherapy for vascular headache, consisting of freezing of various parts of the sphenopalatine ganglion region, was first shown to be effective in 1962. Since that time the technique has been shown to provide only temporary relief from pain (lasting from two to five years) and to be effective only in selected patients.

Today these limitations remain, but refinements in the technique promise considerable relief for some sufferers.

In a report to the recent annual meeting of the American College of Cryosurgery at Grand Island, NY, James Ozenberger, MD, past president of the group and assistant clinical professor of surgery at Yale University School of Medicine, described a follow-up study on his most recent series of headache