Background: Social media have been used to study many aspects of health and human behavior. Although social media present a unique opportunity to obtain unsolicited patient-reported outcomes, its use has been limited in plastic and reconstructive surgical procedures, including migraine nerve surgery. The goal of this study was to utilize the most popular social media site, Facebook, to evaluate patients’ experience with migraine surgery.
Methods: Six months of data regarding nerve surgery, nerve stimulators, and radiofrequency nerve ablation were collected from posts and comments written by members of 2 Facebook groups. Outcomes were classified by degree of resolution of symptoms.
Results: A total of 639 posts related to migraine surgery. Of 304 posts commenting on postoperative success of nerve surgery, 16% reported elimination of headaches and 65% significant improvement (81% with complete or significant improvement), 5% partial improvement, 11% no change, and 3% worsening symptoms. Nerve surgery had a higher success rate than nerve stimulators and radiofrequency ablation. Nerve surgery was recommended by 90% of users.
Conclusions: The 81% rate of complete or significant improvement of symptoms in this study is close to the 79% to 84% shown in current literature. Similar to the findings of a recent systematic review, surgery is more efficacious compared with nerve stimulators and ablation. This study adds to evidence favoring migraine surgery by removing evaluator bias and demonstrates that surgical outcomes and satisfaction data may be obtained from social media.