2 Week Update / Left Side Styloidectomy w Dr. Hackman Nov 6, 2023

2 Week Update / Left Side Styloidectomy w Dr. Hackman Nov 6, 2023
Current pain control: 300 mg Gabapentin 3 times a day as well as ibuprofen, lidocaine patch as needed at night. I did have Botox for migraine 3 weeks prior to surgery. So its affects are included in providing relief but all areas it touched are better than pre-surgery.

Surgery pain:
• I still have some incision pain. Incision by the ear (Dr. Hackman’s route to skull base) has calmed.
• Much of my stylohyoid ligament was removed and that pain on my neck has lessened w/o meds to 40-50% and with meds, negligible.
• Pain in ear is a slight to non-existent stabbing.
• Cannot open jaw fully. Regarding jaw pain, I cut a square of a lidocaine patch and put on my jaw (keeping away from ear incision… very beneficial). Have been able to chew the entire time, very slight chewing after surgery and now can eat fully, but I make sure everything is cut small and not tough. Chewing and talking too much does exacerbate symptoms.
TMJ/jaw was very painful after surgery and ice for me made it worse … suspect the ice was not
good for what I think was trigeminal irritation.
• Throat pain from breathing tube lasted 1 week and was minor.

Pre-surgery pain:
• I had pain inside and outside throat at styloid; that pain seems gone (trying to parse out what is remaining surgery vs. prior).
• Top of neck/skull base pain and headaches are still a problem if I take a med gap, which I do to check for symptoms…but has lessened. What I’ve called for years, the ‘fork in my neck’ is significantly diminished … at styloid area.
• The ‘guitar wire’ tightness I felt from under ear to under chin (stylohyoid ligament) is gone, Dr. said ligament was ‘under significantly unusual tension’… still some surgery pain/swelling so I expect that to continue to decrease. The ligament to jaw was also significantly tight and he felt all moved much better after released. Crossing fingers TMJ will be very positively impacted.
• I was in constant and somewhat well controlled pain. I would take all the meds as needed but some combo around the clock, plus lidocaine on neck every night. Even with surgery …… reduced all but gaba, ibuprofen.

Pre-surgery neurological symptoms:
I had significant (what I think) was trigeminal pain, jaw, temporalis tightness, forehead, eye, facial pain, back of head, top of neck (TBD on neck as have rotated C1), occipital pain (not stabbing but constant), accessory nerve/shoulder pain and tightness. All are still benefitting from Botox for migraine, but is much better than pre-surgery. Facial flushing (trigeminal?) would happen upon certain movements … this has lessened, but far from full range of motion yet, TBD.

Vascular compression:
I was not diagnosed with vascular compression, however tests were not done dynamically. I had symptoms of it, but my right side IJV is wide open. It is possible/probable the scalenes are compressing. I chose to address the styloid first in hopes that the thoracic outlet symptoms would improve. A little early to tell, but whole neck and shoulder are looser. So my hope, is once I can start rehabbing all the sad musculature, things will get better and not need intervention.

Most obvious benefits so far:
Brain fog is 90% diminished, as well as memory issues. It feels like my brain is working without the thunderstorm of disruption. Energy has increased surprisingly. While I’m careful and taking it slow, I have the energy and drive to do things I couldn’t before… lots of cooking, organizing… general tasks that seemed monumental prior. I went to three stores yesterday and cooked. That would not have happened prior. )))

Like many of you, I have had pain/dysfunction for years and nothing helped, including C6/C7 fusion, so I have chosen to remain cautiously optimistic, but having my brain back is so encouraging.

I have more to add regarding tips both before and after surgery and will do so when get a moment. For those suffering and looking for answers, hold on ))). Winter surely might make things look literally and figuratively dimmer. I have been on Amitriptyline 25mg/night for years for sleep. There is no doubt I needed the help for my brain and my pain. Please seek help if you feel despondent. All the best.


Super duper update, Leah! Thank you so much! The details are so helpful for our members who are still waiting for surgery & encouraging for all of us with the news of reduction in symptoms. I will be praying all symptoms will become silent as time passes. It took 9-12 mos for some of mine to go away but most were gone by about 6 mos. post op.


So pleased that your clarity of thought, energy, and some pain have all improved , that’s great! I hope that you carry on seeing improvements and can work on those muscles soon…You’ve been an amazing support on here to others even going through your surgery, you deserve to do well! :hugs: :pray:


I’m about to have surgery in just over a weeks time, so this has been very helpful. Thank you so much for sharing your before/after thoughts. Glad its going well for you :slight_smile:


Good for you! I’ll have time over the weekend to add in surgery and post surgery tips. One quick thing, is the nighttime nursing staff was basically not available. And they were not helpful at all. I am sensitive to what they’ve been through with Covid… This was beyond.

My suggestion would be to plan for the worst and hopefully that’s not the case. But if you can have someone there advocating for you and staying the night, I would highly recommend it.


@N_A, How great to know that you have surgery coming up. I’m sorry if you mentioned this before & I forgot. Can you remind us who you’re seeing for surgery i.e. is it someone from our Doctors List or another doctor we can add to our list?


Best wishes for your surgery! :hugs: :pray:

Thank u for the detailed information. It helps everyone so much. Continued speedy healing to u!


@Leah Thank you so much for the updates, highly appreciated. I’m having a bilateral surgery with Dr. Hackman on January 8th so all the tips are so helpful. I’ve read a bunch of your posts and comments and you’re always so helpful and supportive. Thank you for your kindness and I hope you continue improving and achieve complete healing :heart:


Thank you for your kind words Elena )).

Jan 8 will be here before you know it. My surgery was 5 1/2 weeks out from when I called for it. And I’m now 5 1/2 weeks out from it. And like many things in life it is flown by.

I hope you have a wonderful response and an easy recovery. In many ways, it was easier than I expected but has been up and down.

Today is a good example of how things have gone in that I’m completely wiped out. I was quite busy yesterday and didn’t really think anything of it until it hit me later in the day and then today I’m just pretty exhausted. So as others have said… Take it easy. it’s so hard when you feel somewhat normal and you want to do things. I have said that my brain wants to do more than my body can actually handle.


Thank you for your kindness and encouraging words, Leah, I highly appreciate them. I hope recovery isn’t too rough as I find it hard to imagine worse pain than I’m already in, the nerve pain in my face and head is overwhelming but I hope this surgery can relieve it and give me some quality of life back. I can totally understand wanting to do more when you feel better, on very rare days when I feel better I always do so much as if trying to make up for all the things I wasn’t able to do on terrible days. I hope you continue improving and your symptoms dissipate completely. It’s definitely a journey not for the faint of heart. Your positivity and optimism inspire me, thank you for being here and giving others hope :heart::heart::heart: