Experiences of those who had surgery on both sides

I was wanting to hear the stories of people who have had to have surgery on both sides but originally only had pain on one side. How soon after your first surgery did the other side flare up? Where they the same symptoms you had on the first side? Where you able to tell the difference between the pain of the side not operated on vs healing from the surgery?

I am 3 months post op. I had my right side done externally. My right side was more thick than long and I had calcified ligament. The Dr. said my left side was as long as the right just not as thick and as long as I had no symptoms in the left we would just leave it. But he did say some patients develop pain on other side after surgery. Sorry I lost the measurement of the styloid but it was not super long. I went to my myofascial person for the first time since surgery today. She said my range of motion in my right side was so much better but my left and left shoulder was really tight. She said this could be because my neck was compensating all those years for the right being off. She suggested stretches and is working with me to work out those muscles. As she worked on the left side muscles it was a similar tightness and feeling to the right side before surgery. My Ct did not show the calcified ligament and is 2 yrs old. So I wanted to hear you guys experiences to see if they compared to mine. I know time will tell, if it is just muscular than therapy should work it out. I was also wondering if I did the 3D ct program I have seen posted on here, would that show if the left had any calcification? It feels like something is gone on my right side since the surgery. It is a relief, part of me as I have been healing feels like there is something on the left that needs removed as well.

Using the 3D CT program should allow you to see if there is any calcification in your ligaments. My styloids were very long & my ligaments were partially calcified. The calcification looked like dotted lines on my CT scan (ligaments weren’t visible).

Regarding surgery to do your other side, I recently talked to someone w/ bilateral ES who had just made an appointment for her second surgery as she’s still symptomatic. The surgeon expressed surprise that she wanted a second surgery because many people w/ bilateral ES on whom he operates, decline a second surgery when their symptoms don’t go away after the first one. I was APPALLED by this response. Any good ES surgeon should be informed enough to know that a person w/ bilateral ES CANNOT tell which side is causing what symptoms until one side is removed. If symptoms significantly persist beyond a month or two after that surgery (healing timelines will vary somewhat by age & length of time nerves/vascular tissues have been under duress.) then it’s pretty clear (to me, anyway) that they are being caused by the remaining styloid. The first surgery has most likely been a success, it’s just that the second styloid is still leaving reminders that it exists.

My most painful side was pushed to the second surgery because of the angle of my other styloid which seemed of more concern to my surgeon; therefore, I expected & still had pain post op till I had my second surgery. He made a good call, BTW, as I was having some pretty scary vascular symptoms that ceased after my first surgery.

You need to go w/ your gut as far as surgery #2 goes. If your body doesn’t feel right & if the myofascial work doesn’t help, it would be worthwhile investigating the possibility of surgery. Once elongated, the styloids will keep growing over time. If your CT scan is 2 years old, it would be good to request a new one & get a look at what is currently going on in the ES area of your neck.

I had both sides plus my tonsils removed when I had my surgery. Originally, only the left side had the sensation that something was poking me and it sometimes felt that something was under my tongue. Then, a few, maybe 2 yrs. later I started feeling like something was stuck on the right side. This was before I got diagnosed with ES.

It took me almost 4 months before I started feeling better. It was a process.

I had the worse symptoms on the left, which was removed first, minor symptoms on the right. The right side worsened (or was it that the left was much more painful so I noticed it more?!) not that long after surgery, I can’t remember exactly, although it never got as bad as the left. But I’d seen the CT with contrast, so we knew that it was compressing the jugular vein as well, & because the vascular symptoms improved a lot after 1st surgery, but never went completely, I decided to have the second done as well, while I had the chance! I could probably have lived with the symptoms of just the second time, but I was greedy & wanted to be completely better! & for some reason the 2nd surgery was really easy compared to the first, so I was really glad I’d done it!!
I do agree with Isaiah that you can never completely tell how successful the surgery is when one side is left in… And I’m surprised at his comments!
Hope that the therapy helps you.

Some of my pain in gone, while other issues are just a little better. Like my eating is a lot easier but It is not at 100%. I know some things I could tell were right sided issues, like my right tooth pain and the pain in the back of my right scalp. Some issues however I did not know which side is causing them, like my lightheadedness/dizziness and the tightness in my throat, both are a little better but still there. I got concerned because I always had pain in my right tonsil area and now I am feeling it in the left. I tried the 3D program. I would like to know what you guys think? I had some trouble with it and I am not sure If I can tell if the ligaments are calcified. However it was taken 2 years before surgery, so the right side could have calcified after the original CT was taken. Two of the pics are of the left side and then I put in the right just for comparison.Left%20side%20of%20neck red%20left%20side right%20side%20of%20neck

As we always say… we’re not doctors… I can’t see any calcified ligament on your left side (in the 2nd pic, it looks like you can see the right side calcification), but the left side styloid process does look quite elongated, pointy & angled, so could quite possibly be causing symptoms.

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I agree w/ Jules except that I see what might be a calcified spot on the ligament - not total ligament calcification, but I’m also not a doctor so need to leave that verdict to a professional. Again, getting an updated CT scan would likely be really helpful.

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