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Cluster headache is a severely debilitating disorder that can remain unrelieved by current pharmacotherapy. Alongside ablative neurosurgical procedures, neuromodulatory treatments of deep brain stimulation (DBS) and occipital nerve simulation have emerged in the last few years as effective treatments for medically refractory cluster headaches. Pioneers in the field have sought to publish guidelines for neurosurgical treatment; however, only small case series with limited long-term follow-up have been published. Controversy remains over which surgical treatments are best and in which circumstances to intervene. Here we review current data on neurosurgical interventions for chronic cluster headache focusing upon DBS and occipital nerve stimulation, and discuss the indications for and putative mechanisms of DBS including translational insights from functional neuroimaging, diffusion weighted tractography, magnetoencephalography and invasive neurophysiology.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Neurosci

Publication Date





861 - 866


Cluster Headache, Deep Brain Stimulation, Humans, Treatment Outcome