Occipital nerve stimulation is used to treat severe headaches and chronic migraines. During the procedure, a stimulation device is implanted near the occipital nerve at the base of the skull. There are two parts to an occipital nerve stimulator, a lead and a power source (or pulse generator). In a surgical procedure, the doctor connects a lead to the pulse generator which allows the leads to send electrical impulses to the occipital nerve. The pulse generator is most commonly placed under the clavicle.
Risks and benefits:
Research shows that occipital nerve stimulation improves conditions in patients with severe and chronic headaches and migraines. An occipital nerve stimulator trial is initially used before a permanent placement is inserted.
Surgical revision of wire placement may be required after the procedure. Other risks that are less common include infection at the placement site, pain, and muscle spasm.