Occipital Neuralgia: Advances in the Operative Management

Christine Wamsley, Michael Chung, Bardia Amirlak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Occipital neuralgia (ON) is a primary headache disorder characterized by sharp, shooting, or electric shock-like pain in the distribution of the greater, lesser, or third occipital nerves. Aim: To review the existing literature on the management of ON and to describe our technique of an endoscopic-assisted approach to decompress the GON proximally in areas of fibrous and muscular compression, as well as distally by thorough decompression of the occipital artery from the nerve. Methods: Relevant literature on the medical and surgical management of ON was reviewed. Literature on the anatomical relationships of occipital nerves and their clinical relevance were also reviewed. Results: While initial treatment of ON is conservative, peripheral nerve blocks and many surgical management approaches are available for patients with pain refractory to the medical treatment. These include greater occipital nerve blocks, occipital nerve stimulation, Botulinum toxin injections locally, pulsed radiofrequency ablation, cryoneuroablation, C-2 ganglionectomy, and endoscopic-assisted ON decompression. Conclusion: Patients of ON refractory to medical management can be benefitted by surgical approaches and occipital nerve blocks. Endoscopic-assisted ON decompression provides one such approach for the patients with vascular, fibrous or muscular compressions of occipital nerves resulting in intractable ON.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S219-S227
JournalNeurology India
Issue number7
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • Decompression surgeries
  • headache disorders
  • occipital neuralgia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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