1 Guidance

1 Guidance

1.1 The evidence on occipital nerve stimulation (ONS) for intractable chronic migraine shows some efficacy in the short term but there is very little evidence about long‑term outcomes. With regard to safety, there is a risk of complications, needing further surgery. Therefore, this procedure should only be used with special arrangements for clinical governance, consent, and audit or research.

1.2 Clinicians wishing to undertake ONS for intractable chronic migraine should take the following actions:

  • Inform the clinical governance leads in their Trusts.

  • Ensure that patients understand the uncertainty about the procedure's safety and efficacy, and provide them with clear written information. In addition, the use of NICE's information for the public is recommended.

1.3 Selection of patients for treatment using ONS for intractable chronic migraine should be done by a multidisciplinary team, including specialists in headache, pain management and neurosurgery.

1.4 Clinicians should enter details about all patients undergoing ONS for intractable chronic migraine onto the UK Neuromodulation Register when access to that database is available. They should audit and review clinical outcomes locally and should document and consider their relationship to patient characteristics.

1.5 NICE encourages publication of further information from comparative studies and from collaborative data collection to guide future use of this procedure and to provide patients with the best possible advice. Publications should include full details of any complications, and of adjunctive or subsequent treatments. Outcomes should include measures of pain, function and quality of life, particularly in the long term.

1.6 NICE may review the procedure on publication of further evidence.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)