Bilateral Styloid Removal: Adverse effects?

Getting close to surgery date. Bilateral styloidectomy. Will removal of styloids cause any adverse effect on swallow/speech/tongue functions ? What about on the hyoid ? Nothing like pending surgery date to focus one’s thinking. Thanks.

Hi Henry,

Styloid removal can cause temporary tongue paralysis (I had it only on my right side but had 2 unilateral surgeries) if the hypoglossal or glossopharyngeal nerves are irritated during surgery. When the tongue isn’t working right, both speaking & eating are more challenging (but not impossible). It took about 9 months for my tongue to fully recover, but at 6 months, there was good improvement. Swallowing can be difficult for the first couple of weeks due to post op throat inflammation. If anything, ES surgery helps the hyoid as it can become tethered by calcified s-h ligaments/ elongated styloids. This prevents the hyoid from being able to move freely when you swallow, talk, cough, sneeze, laugh, etc.

Your goal should be to not have any expectations regarding your surgical outcome EXCEPT that it will, over time, help you recover from your symptoms. Most of us have some residual BUT minimal nerve issues after ES surgery. I think of mine as friendly reminders of how far I’ve come since I had full blown ES. They do not impact my life in any significant way.

I never noticed any difference with swallowing, talking etc after my surgeries- I was worried about that & I think it’s something most of us wonder! What I did experience & seems to be common post op was opening my mouth wide, so eating & cleaning teeth can be uncomfortable to start with, chewing as well. So have soft foods ready, ingredients for smoothies etc. It doesn’t last long though, only temporary- I had it with 1st surgery , but not at all with my 2nd!
If you search the past discussions for what to expect after surgery, it’ll come up with lots of info- for example you’ll need to sleep half upright, if you’re not already, so getting a wedge pillow & maybe a V shaped one too will help.

Thank you Jules.