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BACKGROUND: Studies have suggested that contact between opposing mucosal surfaces in the nasal wall and cavity can be a target of the surgical treatment of migraines. Unfortunately, not enough is known about the role of nasal pathology in the pathogenesis of this condition. The co-existence of further rhinological disorders can be an impediment to defining the cause and effect of anatomical variants. The authors compared the MRI scans of migraine- and non-migraine patients (MPs and NMPs, respectively) to determine the prevalence of such mucosal contact points in order to extrapolate whether there is a significant association with migraines. METHODS: Coronal and axial MRI brain scans of 522 patients (412 migraineurs and 110 non-migraineurs) were analysed for the prevalence of anatomical variations of the nasal cavity, e.g. concha bullosa, septal deviations, mucosal swelling and contact points. RESULTS: The results showed no significant difference between MPs and NMPs patients for any of the parameters examined. Moreover, 87% MPs and 79% NMPs had at least one contact point. The most frequent contact point was between the middle turbinate and the septum, observed in 54% of MPs and 45% of NMPs. CONCLUSIONS: Contact points with the nasal mucosa are highly prevalent in both MPs and NMPs. Although a contact point does not cause a migraine in the absence of the disease, the concomitant presence of migraine and contact points can trigger an attack, and therefore, it is necessary to differentiate or exclude a rhinological disorder in these patients.

Original publication




Journal article


J plast reconstr aesthet surg

Publication Date





914 - 921


Headache, Migraine, Migraine surgery, Rhinology, Adult, Case-Control Studies, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Middle Aged, Migraine Disorders, Nasal Cavity, Nasal Mucosa, Nasal Septum, Neuroimaging, Nose, Risk Factors, Turbinates