I finally have a date for surgery

I finally have a date to have my now 8.0 cm right styloid removed. My surgery is May 5th I’m scared and nervous. Benjamin L. Judson, MD Professor of Surgery (Otolaryngology); Chief, Division of Otolaryngology, Yale Medicine. I will have my surgery at Yale Smilow cancer institute in New Haven Connecticut. What am I looking at for recovery time. I was already told that I’m staying the night. I was told about the drain and how to take care of it. Looking for info as to eating after surgery and what to stay away from. I’m scared about this giant scar that I’m going to be stuck with. Im looking for as much help and info as possible. Also has anyone had this surgeon.


That’s very exciting news @Wgrannells! We have another member who’s also having surgery on 5/5.

I looked up Dr. Judson in previous discussions, & though his name is mentioned, I couldn’t find a specific post by anyone for whom he’d done ES surgery, only mentions by people who planned to see him. If he’s the department head, I expect he’s very experienced with surgeries in the area where the styloids are so you should be in good hands with him.

Recovery time is a bit different for everyone. Generally, the first week post op is the most uncomfy w/ days 3-5 post op being when the swelling & pain are the worst. We recommend getting 3 gel ice packs that are small enough to rest comfortably on your neck as you will want to use these frequently after surgery - 15 min on & 45 min off. Place a thin towel or washcloth between the ice pack & your skin to protect your skin from getting ice burned.

A wedge pillow is also a good investment as sleeping with your head elevated at least 30º will help keep your neck & throat swelling down. It takes some getting used to as you’ll be sitting almost upright but it will help a lot.

Make sure to buy a stool softener & laxative to start taking as soon as you get home from surgery because the Rx pain meds are opioids which are generally very constipating.

Prepare to have a sore throat & jaw post op which means you’ll want soft foods to eat like soup, yogurt, smoothies, pasta, mashed potatoes, applesauce, hot cereal & the like. Some of our members have found having a supply of fruit popsicles to suck on helped ease throat pain.

By the end of the first week, you’ll feel like being up & around more but make sure to take it easy even on days when you feel better as your symptoms may flare up if you push yourself too hard too soon. Some of our members have started back to work part time in the second week post op where others have taken a month off to really allow their bodies to get a jump on healing. This is a major surgery after all.

Full recovery of nerves & symptoms can take up to a year after surgery, but usually by 4-6 months post op, you’ll have a pretty good idea of which symptoms are sticking around (if any) & which are going away.

If you have bilateral ES, you may find any symptoms the remaining side is causing will flare up during healing from your first styloidectomy. Recovery is a bit of a 3 steps forward 2 steps back cycle so don’t get discouraged. The good days will win in the end.

There is tons of information about post op recovery on this forum. You can find it by using the magnifying glass icon & searching for “post op recovery” or just “recovery”.

I’ll put you on my calendar & will pray for you on Thurs. Please let us know how your surgery goes. We’d love more info about Dr. Judson!

:hugs: :pray:


Oh how I feel your worries! I’m scheduled to have my surgery tomorrow at MHealth U of M in MN! It’s been a loooong wait!

Isaiah has given you perfect advice and I paraphrase some advice that was given to me in my recent post- just take each obstacle as it comes! Short, simple advice!

I too was worried about the incision and scar but I know if properly cared for, it will fade to barely noticeable. You can search for scar photos and you’ll see that in just a few short weeks it will look pretty darn good. In the meantime, I’m trying to devise the perfect fictional story to pair with it while I heal - I’m thinking it should have something to do with a Grizzly bear, lol :wink::blush:

When the incision is healed, you can start massaging it lightly to break up the scar tissue so it flattens and keep it well-moisturized. Vaseline, almond oil, vitamin E (liquid form) all are great options. I’ve also heard Mederma is a good option.

Be well my friend and know that I share your feelings but I’m confident we’re both in excellent hands! See you on the “other side”!!! :grin:


I just wanted to say thank you so much for reaching out to me. I have been so behind nervous and not sleeping because of a prior surgery. I had three fusions on my cervical spine last year that didn’t go well it was supposed to be an in and out procedure and I ended up in the hospital for two weeks. I’ve just been on edge for a while now. But I wanted to say thank you for the nice letter that you wrote to me and I hope you do great on your surgery too. We will both do have a great surgery. Good luck my friend


I continue to relate!

I’m more worried about whether this works for me. I was diagnosed with reflux when this began in ‘20 and since meds didn’t take away the symptoms I complained of, the ENT encouraged me to explore reflux surgery. I had the surgery and it did nothing for my symptoms! My surgeon washed his hands of me by proving I wasn’t refluxing any longer then blamed my pain on anxiety. I now speculate that it was the styloid irritating the Vegus nerve which impacts digestion and yes, reflux. This on top of they other symptoms.

Like you…a bad past surgery and now this is placed on our plate!

We WILL persevere! And for you, both those on this forum and myself will be here to help you get through! Indeed, it’s scary when there’s a history like this.

And I was going to add about the scar- I just got a message from a sweet friend of mine that said, “Scars & tattoos tell stories”. We’ll have some great stories, won’t we? :grin:. Hang in there!!


I can’t really add much to the great advice that you’ve already been given! Will the drain just be in overnight? I had one in after both my surgeries, just for the night I was in, it wasn’t painful but was quite awkward to sleep with!
Usually surgeons do the incision in a neck crease so once it’s healed it won’t be at all visible. I don’t know if you’ve discussed this with your surgeon? It can often be surprising how small the incision is!
Here’s a link to a recent discussion about surgery, @hyperichard has posted pics of his surgery scar, & you can see how quickly it’s healed!
I hope that all goes well for you & will be praying for you :pray:


I talked to my surgeon and they said the tube will be in place for 7 days and then I will go back to Yale to have them remove it. He said the incision will actually be quite large because of the size of my styloid.

Thank you so much. For all the kind words. I hope your surgery goes smoothly. God bless and good luck

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That’s unusual, I hope that it’s not too irritating, they may well do something different for yours if it’s going to be in for longer, mine had a little dangly pot on the end!
Better to have a scar & get all the styloid removed than have a small incision & the doctors can only remove a small part…It sounds daft but I was a bit disappointed, I thought if I had an obvious scar I could tell people about Eagles & spread the word! We think on here that it’s more common than doctors realise, just under diagnosed!


You can get mederma, it helps fade the scars. Don’t apply it till you get the ok from your doctor. Good luck and many prayers :pray:


Hi Wgrannells,

I can feel with you and I’m sorry that you already had negative experiences with surgeries before.
Where you are now sounds very good though. The excitement you are experiencing is also good for your body to prepare for the procedure, for example ramps up immune system.
Thinking of you tomorrow and sending positive thoughts for a successful surgery and smooth recovery to you.

Best wishes from Germany :four_leaf_clover: :crossed_fingers: :crossed_fingers:


I to have just been scheduled for my surgery in Boston. Dr Annino is the surgeon. It took me 1 1/2 years to find this site and the right doctor.


We’re so glad you found us & now have help to end your suffering. :hugs: