Bilateral Styloidectomy complete! Dr. Hackman team did amazing

Well hello everyone

Finished my surgery, Dr. Hackman and his team said everything went great!

All of the nurses and staff at UNC were amazing!
I’m still in a lot of pain and they gave me a light oxy to take for the pain and luckily this one isn’t making me sick! My throat really hurts still (probably because they put a tube in it to help me breathe during surgery) and my neck is still sore of course, but honestly the incisions look great and I’m just looking forward to feeling better.

The worst part is that for some reason my ears really hurt and are still pretty numb and I can barley feel them when I touch them but they said it should come back soon (and it is starting too).

It’s getting a little bit easier to swallow but I’ve only been able to eat soups and pudding and applesauce and smoothies.

My face feels reallly tight and sleeping is hard but I’m figuring it out!
Here are some pictures from the entire process.

Thank you all for your continued support!

Dr. Hackman removed the styloid process and the calcified ligaments (I know some people worry about what Doctors remove what).

It’s also really difficult to talk and I sound pretty funny.

I’m gonna probably try and take a nap but its been hard to lay down! I also need to get some baby shampoo because they said to bathe in that but carefully and not scrub vigorously.
Alright I will talk to yall later!


WOW! You looked amazing right after surgery. I’m so glad it’s behind you! Getting both done at once is pretty brutal so your recovery will be a little slower than when only one side is done at a time (but quicker overall than having to recover twice!).

Numbness can last for awhile as nerves are slow to heal. Ear pain is not uncommon after ES surgery, & in your case, it’s most likely there because Dr H makes incisions both in the neck & at the front of the ears. I expect that helps him get the styloid removed up closer to the skull base.

This week & next will likely be the worst from a recovery perspective but you should still begin noticing some positive changes soon.

I’m so glad you’re on the healing end now & will keep praying for a smooth recovery. :heart::hugs:


That’s great! Glad that you’re through surgery, & have found some pain relief which suits you. Numbness around your ears is quite normal- mine are still a bit numb, but a small price to pay for the benefits of surgery. You can get funny symptoms as the nerves heal- itching, tingling, pain, I get a whoosh sensation up my ears sometimes! & just being able to eat soft foods could last for a week or 2…You look swollen so not surprising that your face feel tight- ice when you can & keep semi-upright.
I hope that you keep healing well, can keep your pain under control & you can get some sleep!
God bless :bouquet: :hugs: :pray:


Congrats on making it to the other side!! Everything looks good all considering!

I had surgery on one side three weeks ago and I was very numb from my chin to top of my ear, but it’s starting to come back a little bit especially on my neck. My ear is still numb but it doesn’t bother me too much. Happy healing!!


Thank you for sharing this information. The incisions look very neat and tidy! Speedy healing.


Love to see the pictures! wishing you fast recovery. I didnt realize that some docs go thru the ear as well. I am not surprised your ears hurt. Doing both sides at once is brave.
I had that tightness feeling and numbness for quite awhile but it eventually fades away with time.
Are they giving you any prednisone for swelling? YOUR incisions look soooo good.
My first week, I went to a hair salon and they carefully washed my hair and dried it for me. It was so worth it as that first week you don’t want to really do much and it made me feel more normal.


Hello all! I somehow got logged out of my account and wasn’t receiving notifications!!

I’d like to let everyone know I’m doing great, able to move around the house and mostly eat anything. I cannot use the left side of my tongue which does cause a lot of issues when speaking and thus my speech is off. I’ve started getting my nerves back and that shit HURTS lol real bad.

@Snapple2020 they didn’t give me anything for swelling but I’ve been taking ibuprofen and Tylenol with the 5mg oxy but i haven’t taken those in awhile now!

Here are some more pictures of the process, I’m also on Facebook if you’re on those Eagle Syndrome groups you’ve probably seen me share on there!

Thank you all so much for being so amazing and helping me through this process!! :slight_smile:

@Jules I definitely have been getting that itchy feeling as well and the whoosh!

these guys were apparently 7cm long :sweat_smile:

this was from the 5th!

this is from the 8th

this was on the 12th

this was yesterday!

This is my new home that my boyfriend and I just bought <3

For the first time in several months I’m starting to feel clear headed again. That foggy brain is going away!!

I’m ready to start studying for the actuarial exams again and I’m ready to finish my Economics degree!

Also: here are the medical notes from my surgery for anyone interested:

We designed bilareral preauricular incisions and bilateral 4 cm neck incision for access to remove the styloid process from the infratemporal fossa as the length of the process extended out into the neck.

We began on the right with design of the preauricular incision extended from the superior aspect of
the tragus down to just underneath the lobule of the ear bilaterally. This was marked out along the
skin crease and then injected with local anesthesia. We then incised through the skin and subcutaneous tissue and identify the cartilaginous ear canal. We then began dissection along the
perichondrium of the ear canal retract the parotid tissue anteriorly and dissecting down until we reached the bony cartilaginous junction of the ear canal. We further opened this plane from superior to inferior identified the styloid process originating off the skull base. After doing this, we then moved our dissection inferiorly and laterally and identify the main trunk of the facial nerve which was traced out towards the pes anserinus. At this point, we had identified the superior aspect of the styloid process deep within the infratemporal fossa. Periosteal elevator was used to dissected the soft tissue attachments around the styloid process down to the inferior aspect of the calcified tip.

The distal tip of the styloid process was fairly far inferior, and therefore for safety of access, we chose to access the lower neck incision next. The neck skin crease incision just below the submandibular gland was incised with 15 blade scalpel down through skin and subcutaneous tissue and through platysma. We then deepened our dissection along the posterior edge of the submandibular gland with sharp scissors and bipolar cautery. We retracted the posterior belly of digastric, and then dissected superior to this into the infratemporal fossa, identifying and preserving the hypoglossal nerve and the external carotid artery with its associated branches. With further dissection superiorly, we identified the distal tip of the calcified styloid process. We isolated this to prevent in severed the ligamentous attachment. We then used the periosteal elevator to elevate the other remaining soft tissue off of the distal half of the styloid process. Having done this, we then moved back to the preauricular incision.

A rongeur forceps was then used disarticulate the styloid process from the skull base, and then we retracted the process superiorly, using bipolar cautery to release/divide the ligaments and muscular attachments inferiorly. The process would not removed out through the preauricular incision, and
therefore we transition back to the neck where the process was grasped along its distal tip retracted inferiorly until we could release the remaining soft tissue attachments with sharp scissors and bipolar cautery. This allowed us to remove the 7 centimeter styloid process from the infratemporal fossa. There is no significant bleeding. There is a mild oozing at the skull base bone where the process was removed. This was controlled with bipolar cautery. We checked his facial nerve and hypoglossal nerve after completion procedure and they stimulated normally. The area was copiously irrigated sterile saline, and Valsalva confirmed good hemostasis. We then placed a #10 Blake drain into the neck and extended this up into the preauricular incision through the infratemporal fossa.

And then same thing for the left side and then they closed me up. Eek weird to read the medical version of my body being sliced LOL

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Wow, you’re healing really well! & a beautiful place to recover at, I hope you’re all settled in & that the peace has helped you…I’m sure that your speech will recover soon, if not some PT might help with the tongue function.
Thanks for your update, it’s good to know how things are doing! Hugs to you (& to your gorgeous doggo!)

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She is the best dog in the entire world! I’ve had her since 6 months and she is 4 now :slight_smile:

okay im done



Thanks for all the pics & surgical report, Asumhannah! Makes me want to ask for mine if it still exists somewhere.

LOVE your dog & goat pics!! Is the goat a pigmy or still young? My sister had goats, & they were so cute & sweet! I loved to watch them play & climb on everything climbable outside. She had to give them to a new home. Now she has four 80-90 lb labs. I love dogs, but four is a bit too many for even me!! Pets are very helpful comforters when we’re sick or healing. We were dog-sitting my in-laws’ papillon when I had my first ES surgery, & he came & laid in my lap as I lounged on the recliner for 3 days. I loved having him there!

You & your fiancé sure chose a gorgeous place to live! WOW! In my dreams!! I know you will heal & thrive in that beautiful setting. :heart:

I had the tongue issue post op except on my right side. It took 6 months before I could eat normally (if food got to the right side of my tongue, I’d have to move it back to the left w/ my finger or a utensil so I could chew it properly) & around 9 mos before my speech cleared up. Others who’ve had tongue issues have healed faster. I never sought out PT because I didn’t think of it, but those who have, started around 2 months post op & saw great benefit from it.

Thanks again for sharing your world. Your incisions do look really good!


So glad you are doing so well and recovering nicely. You should after taking out those lengthy spikes! uv your pix of neck, dog and home. You live in a most beautiful area. All is well at your home!


This is such useful information! It’s so important for people to understand the process despite knowing it very well will be different than what is read here. Congrats on all your wonderful fortunes and blessings for continued healing and good health!