General Surgery Questions

Hi Everyone!
I have an appointment with a specialist in North Andover on May 22nd. I’m assuming i am going to need surgery.

Couple of questions i have that I’m hoping you can answer for me…

  1. I read there are 2 ways to do the surgery, first being- through the mouth and they take tonsils too (most of the time) and the second one being through the neck. What type have you had?

  2. Do you do one side at a time or can you do both at once? Ideally, I’d really like to do both at once and just get it overwith.

  3. What symptoms do you have after surgery? Lose your voice? Typical throat symptoms/surgery pain? The reason i ask is I teach drivers ed so i need my voice. I’m hoping i would need more than a week off.

  4. Do they shave down the styloid or remove the bone altogether? Can they grow back??

Thank you for all your help! This is absolutely one of the most frustrating illnesses to deal with.

There’s info about surgery in the Newbies Guide Section, and some questions we’ve found helpful to ask your doctor which might be good to have a look at:
ES Information- Treatment: Surgery - Welcome / Newbies Guide to Eagle Syndrome - Living with Eagle
There are 2 ways as you know; because doing surgery externally gives the doctor better visibility and better access to the styloids, it’s generally considered the best approach as more of the styloids can be removed and it’s easier to see the blood vessels and nerves, although members have had successful surgery intra-orally. From post-op reports members have posted, intra-orally does seem to be more painful. (You can google tonsillectomy as an adult to get an idea!)
My surgeries were both external and the surgeon was able to remove the styloids both back to skull base.
Not many doctors do both sides at once- Dr Hackman in NC has done lots for members- as many doctors are concerned about the swelling. Recovery is obviously harder with bilateral surgery, but I can see the appeal of getting it over & done with. Most doctors suggest waiting 3-6 months between surgeries.
Using your voice much can be painful after surgery- we’ve had members who are teachers or who talk for their jobs so you could look up some discussions after that. I would guess that you’ll need at least a couple of weeks resting your voice, longer if you have intra-oral surgery. I’m UK so not sure if you do the same as a driving instructor here- taking students out in the car? I found driving too uncomfortable after my first surgery as turning my head was stiff and painful so I didn’t drive for 3 weeks- so if you are going out in a car be mindful of this.
The surgery methods vary, but usually all the attachments to the styloid (ligaments etc) are stripped off, and then the styloid removed, the end should be smoothed off. How much can be removed depends on the surgeon & what nerves or blood vessels are very close- some doctors remove it right to the skull base, often a small nub is left. It’s sometimes too tricky to remove all of the styloid if nerves are tangled round it for example. They can very occasionally grow back, unfortunately we’ve had a few members who have had to have them removed a second time, but this is very unusual, and the more of the styloid removed then the better it is.

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