Decision to operate

I was recently diagnosed with Eagle today (12/12). And I have just been on a crazy search to just figure out exactly whats going on. When I was at the doctors at Vanderbilt today the doctor had said he wanted to remove my tonsils until he saw my CT scan and realized that I had Eagle. Now I am at the cross roads of trying to figure out if I want to operate or not. He gave me the option. He said that we could do the tonsillectomy but the odds are I will just end up with more pain when I swallow because of the scar tissue being so close to my styloid. He briefly said something about operating on the styloid but not too much or too in depth.

So my biggest question/concern was what made those who under went the operation decide to?
Was it an open discussion with your doctor?
Was it a necessity?

Sorry, all just a little lost. I’m only 22 years old so this came as a shock.

Thank you all for taking the time!

Hi bayleyyyrenee!

Welcome to this forum & great support group!
In answer to your question about why people choose surgery vs not - the answer is simple - necessity. ES pain & side effects eventually rob most people of their ability to function normally. Surgery becomes the best option for restoration of a normal life. ES can show up at any age (the youngest member on here was 12).

In all likelihood, your tonsils are fine & don’t need to be removed. I’d bank on your symptoms being fully caused by Eagle Syndrome. If you click on the HOME link at the top of the page you’ll find the NEWBIES Guide & the US ES Doctors’. There is info about symptoms in the Newbies Guide.

You’re young so if you choose to have surgery your recovery should be quicker than for an older person (many people on this forum haven’t been symptomatic till 50-60+ years of age & so have surgery then). I was in my late 50s when diagnosed & it took me about 2 months to start feeling good again after each surgery though I was functional after about a week.

I am a proponent of the external approach as it allows the styloid to be removed back to the skull base so regrowth won’t occur. The stylohyoid ligament is also removed as it is often calcified or partially calcified. The incision is made in a natural neck crease so once healed it’s basically invisible.

This site will provide you awesome support & encouragement no matter what you decide to do.

I second all that- there’s lots of info all about surgery, pros & cons, & the past discussions can be useful- they’re searchable by topic.
If you were to just have your tonsils removed, that could make the situation worse, as the surgery can cause scar tissue & inflammation which can actually cause ES! So it’s your decision, but I definitely wouldn’t chose that option!
If you opt for surgery for ES, doctors either operate intra-orally, so behind the tonsils, through the mouth- many doctors remove the tonsils to get to the styloid processes, so in a way that would kill 2 birds with one stone if they suspect your tonsils are partly the problem. The other way doctors operate is externally, so in through the neck/ under the jaw or behind the ear, which is less likely to cause an infection, and gives the surgeon better visibility so they can remove more of the styloid. (if too much is left in, then you can still get symptoms).
So the best advice is to read up as much as you can, & try to see a doctor more knowledgeable and experienced in ES surgery to help you make your decision, as Isaiah says. We advise people not to have surgery with an inexperienced doctor, as they often don’t understand the importance of removing as much as possible & smoothing off any ends left.
Not everyone opts for surgery- some people decide to leave it until symptoms get really bad, or try other temporary treatments like lidocaine/ steroid injects into the area. I didn’t even consider surgery for a year or 2 after being diagnosed as it was bearable, (and there are some risks to surgery) but then I had some other neck problems and the ES symptoms worsened very quickly, so I was really glad to have been able to find a fantastice doctor through this site, & have had both sides done.
But it’s a personal decision, depending on how much pain you’re in, what symptoms you have etc. There’s info as well in the Newbies Guide section about symptoms.
Hope this helps, & reading stories others have shared about their surgeries will hopefully give you a better idea as to what you’re dealing with! Best wishes :wink:

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I had also the whole bad swallow thing,im 31and my tnosills are huge. But i removod both syloids and ligaments and my mouth dont hurt any more. You could also laser your tonsills first and see whats happening.greets from Koblenz