Almost 1 month post op

I have suffered from daily pressure headaches and face pain for over two years. I like many of you went too many different doctors to figure out what was wrong with me. I was finally diagnosed with eagles syndrome only bad on my left side. I was told I would not need my other side done but that on the left side my bone had calcified and was pressing on my vein and nerves. I had my surgery on June 19th and my doctor said it went well. I am now 27 days out since my surgery and I am still having constant headaches and facial pain. My doctors says I just need to give my body time to adjust. I am concerned that maybe my eagles syndrome is not the cause of my issues. I am looking to hear other stories and to know how long it took others to feel better?

Hi Lolo318,

I am sorry that you are having such difficulties. You are in good company here. I am 30 days post-op today and I feel like I am a mess. The left side was removed because it was causing the most problems. The remaining right elongated styloid (over 5 cm) pokes and hurts my throat but I didn’t think that it was the one causing nerve and/or vascular problems, unfortunately that may be the case. For me, the other side may need to come out before real relief is felt. I have learned from this supportive site that this is a journey, that every body heals at different rates. I started the topic “Bilateral - one out, one remaining - still causing problems.” There are some wonderfully written comments about healing. Please check it out.


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Hi Lolo318 -

Being less than one month out from surgery, you are still on the early end of recovery. Healing from ES surgery can be a bumpy road w/ symptoms coming & going over the first 6-8 weeks post op.Vascular compression & nerve irritation from ES can take up to 12 months for full recovery. Usually by 3-6 months you’ll have a pretty good idea of what symptoms are gone & which still remain.

There is a chance your remaining styloid process or calcified stylohyoid ligament or both is/are causing your remaining symptoms. Some doctors only look for an elongated styloid process but a calcified stylohoid ligament (or both an elongated styloid process & elongated s-h ligament) can also cause ES symptoms. Also, a normal length styloid process that is extra thick or curved or pointed can cause ES symptoms but doctors don’t look for those things in a CT, they seem to only be interested in length. I’m telling you this as your remaining styloid may fall into one of the above categories so it’s worth it for you to check that out. In bilateral ES cases, after one styloid process is removed, the second one often causes symptoms to flare back up. Thus full ES recovery cannot occur until the second side is taken care of.

Did you have intraoral or external surgery? Do you know how much of your styloid process the doctor removed? Ideally, the styloid process should be cut back to the skull base & the s-h ligament removed from the tip of the styloid to the hyoid bone. When the styloid is only shortened, symptoms can sometimes remain because not enough bone was removed.

I hope you find encouragement here & the information you need to fully recover ASAP!


My surgery was external and he told me that he got out the whole thing I’m not exactly sure how much. He said mine was thicker then it was long but I am not sure why he does not think the left one would have to be taken out. I will ask him the next time I have the chance to.

lolo318 -
Glad to know you had external surgery. I think your plan to talk to your doctor about the remaining styloid is good. Do you have another post op follow-up coming up?

I do agree with your doctor that time is necessary for you to really know how much the surgery helped, however, if your current symptoms don’t begin to resolve by 6-8 weeks, I’d be very suspicious that your remaining styloid process is the perpetrator.

Hopefully you’ll begin to have relief soon though. :pray:

Hi lolo!
I have sent you a welcome message before I saw your discussion, so won’t repeat it all, & it’s already been covered by the others too, pretty comprehensively!
So I wish you well & would urge you as well to be patient, it is still early days…& if you can find out more info about the remaining styloid then that would be useful to see if you think that’s causing problems still.
Just wondering what treatment you’d tried before surgery; have you tried nerve pain medications? That might help you in the meantime, if you’ve not already tried it.
Hope that things improve for you soon, & will add you to my prayer list!

I did check up for my eagle syndrome and having same symptoms like yours. Did CT scan and I am negative for eagle syndrome but having my throat pain and headache continue and after 6 months I am diagnosed with TMD or TMJ (temporomandibural joint). Try to press under your ear and open your jaw wide. If you feel pain then ask doctor about TMJ. Wish you will be out of your trouble very soon.

Welcome! I hear patience is our friend. Good luck and Godspeed!

Hello, I had my surgery over 7 years ago. I immediately went from what I called level 15 pain to level 9 pain. I too am diagnosed with TMJ and tight muscles all through your my face and neck / shoulder area. I have worked with therapist weekly to continue the healing of my body. If I lift anything over 10 pounds, have my head in certain positions or look up my pain starts again. I have given up working on computers and pay close attention to body position both awake and asleep. My body is still healing but now I feel more in control of my pain then before surgery. I would work with a good therapist and find natural ways to deal with any pain you are in. Things get better but it is a healing process.

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I am mostly concerned about how quickly I will be able to return to my job. I do shipping for a welding shop. I haven’t been here long enough to qualify for FMLA although they assure me my job will be here for me. I go in for external surgery on my left styloid process on Tuesday.

Most likely you’ll need to be out of work for 2 weeks. Some people can go back after 1 week post op.