Do Styloids Grow?

Diagnosed in 2015 after having bilateral carotid dissections in 2014. After much research, I did not have styloids removed, but rather stents placed by Dr. Richard Fessler (endovascular neurosurgeon) to protect the carotids. He explained the risks of styloid removal and advised me not to go down that path.

Lately I’m feeling some symptoms again - numbness on the left side that comes and goes. And, I’m wondering - does anyone know if styloids grow? If it helps, I’m 55. Any input appreciated.

Eagles syndrome and/or calcifications of styloids is usually progressive - meaning can get worse as you age. Often the calcifications can extend into the stylohyoid ligaments and be continuous.
I would suggest you get an updated CT Scan of the neck with evaluation for Eagles Syndrome. Also see and ENT who has a sub-speciality of cancer in the neck and throat - they usually have some expertise in Eagles and performing surgery in these areas. We have a decent list of Eagles doctors depending on what state you are in. Eagles is outside the expertise of a vascular neurosurgeon.


Snapple2020 gave you good information. I will add that having your styloids removed will take pressure off your carotid arteries & any cranial nerves they are compressing which should allow you to recover from any symptoms you’re having. The stents may provide some protection for your carotids if you choose to have ES surgery. I’ll send you the welcome email I send to our new members as it has additional information that may be helpful for you. :blush:

They can grow as Snapple says, but also as we age, connective tissues aren’t as elastic, the vertebral discs can compress, & so structures in the neck can shift. Even a small amount can bring the styloids into contact with nerves or blood vessels that they weren’t irritating before. An up to date CT would show if they have grown.


I forgot about the growing old thing Jules! I turn 65 this week and it is hitting me hard. Im officially over the hill and a senior. :cry: :sob: :scream:

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I’m hot on your heels, Snapple!! :joy:

You’re only as old as you feel :wink:

What did he say were the risks of styloid removal?

Hi @eastmas1! Nice to have you back!

The risks of styloid removal mostly have to do w/ nerve damage. Because of the many nerves & 6 of 12 cranial nerves that run through that part of our necks, there is a risk that damage could be done during surgery that might be permanent. Experienced skull based Head/Neck or ENT surgeons put monitors on the nerves so they can watch what’s going on during surgery thus making every effort not to injure the nerves or blood vessels. Sometimes a nerve or two has to be moved out of the way. This irritates them & can cause pain or numbness or some loss of function of the area the nerve innervates for awhile after surgery. In most cases, the nerves heal, but it is a slow process that requires patience. It can take up to a year, & some people need nerve pain medication to help them through this healing period.

An example that we’ve seen here sometimes, & that I personally experienced was tongue paralysis on the surgical side. My glossopharyngeal nerve was wrapped around my styloid, & in order for the styloid to be shortened, the nerve had to be unwrapped. Though the nerve wasn’t damaged, the unwrapping process caused it to be annoyed, & the result was that half my tongue didn’t work right for about 6 months. It wasn’t debilitating but was annoying.

I know this question was directed to @Chromechaser66 so hopefully you’ll get a first hand reply to compare w/ my general response.

There is also the risk of damage to one of the blood vessels during surgery, very, very rare, but can happen…

Thanks for info. I feel my nerves are already damaged. Is it possible to feel nerve damage in legs or something else. I had swollen tongue for eight months for itubatfora unrelated surgery. t hi k Ican go thru this aga

They absolutely grow. The reason mine was found was because it grew much longer. Initially the doctor laughed off my comment that I could touch something next to my neck and under my jaw that was tender and seemed foreign. Then it grew long enough that it’s even with the bottom my ‘gonial angle’ (the curve pet of lower jaw). Then she listened. I actually touch my styloid on left side without even having to press ‘upward’ to search for it.


Though we can’t tell you that you won’t have tongue problems again from intubation, we can tell you that nerves do heal & getting your styloid(s), & if they are calcified, stylohyoid ligaments removed will allow your nerves to heal. As long as your styloids are in place & irritating the nerves, there isn’t a chance for them to recover. The tongue problem would be a risk you’d need to take if you decide to have ES surgery. Letting the surgeon & anesthesiologist know you had a problem w/ intubation in the past would be a good idea as there may be some other way it could be done that would protect your tongue. That is speculation on my part, but it’s worth asking.

WOW @biggiestyloid! It sounds like your styloid is really long! Probably time to think about getting it removed so you can have better quality of life.

I know how that feels, the tip of my right sp is rubbing on the jaw bone now
If i press on the tip I can alter volume and pitch levels through tinnitus.
If I do this quickly I can play god save the queen and the solo in the Eagles hotel California


:scream: :woozy_face: :joy: what are you like!


You are a riot…I needed a belly laugh this morning! My tinitus is awful, I wish I could tune it into Beatles or bluegrass!!


In spite of your grave health situation, you always make us laugh! Maybe stand-up comedy is in your future! :joy::rofl::joy:

Praying for a surgery appt soon for you!

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Ok that’s hilarious!


:joy: Got plenty of greengrass in Ireland… But no potatoes :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl: sorry that was a blight joke, if my Irish friends new I was making a joke about the potato famine I would be kneecapped