Instability after styloidectomy? Curious what others have experienced/done about it

I had a left side styloidectomy just over a month ago. The surgery went very well, and I have healed back up quite nicely…Many of my neurological symptoms have gotten better. Still, I have some remaining symptoms – some of which are now more pronounced on the right side. I even had a couple of days where I experienced what I refer to as an “awakening” where most of my symptoms went away. My brain and body were working well again…I felt completely back to normal! It was astonishing, to say the least. However, it was short-lived.

Since my styloidectomy, what I believe to be my cervical instability (AAI) has gotten much worse. To the point I was at a year or so ago before extensive prolotherapy injections that really helped. My atlas was holding quite well before my surgery including a full three-month period. However, since my surgery, it has subluxated 7 times…Seemingly more so each week. Sometimes it will hold for a few minutes after getting adjusted…sometimes a few hours and sometimes a day or two. But when I foolishly forget and turn my head more than 10° or so to either side, it goes back out. :confused:

I have found that a neck collar and changing my pillows helped a bit, but it’s still going out and the related symptoms remain…

I have been able to find one thread about the correlation with ES surgery and increased instability (post titled CCI and ES). In particular, the first comment from Isaiah on February 28. There are likely more posts that I have overlooked…

I don’t know that anyone knows 100 percent whether a unilateral styloidectomy can create instability (or some sort of perceived imbalance)…Given the pathology of why we (supposedly) have elongated styloids in the first place, it certainly seems plausible. Rather than looking for an answer to that question, though, I’m curious about the following:

  1. Has anyone else experienced increased instability after surgery (whether real or perceived)?

  2. Have you found anything that helps, including removal of the opposite side elongated styloid?

As you know, we all suffer from this in so many complicated ways. I continue this fight because I know my well-self is inside. I have felt it…and it was amazing. I’m just trying to figure out what to do now including making the case for having surgery on the right side. Your feedback is appreciated!

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I’m really glad you’ve your ES surgery but am sorry for the increase in your AAI symptoms. That’s definitely not what we hope for. You’re still pretty early in recovery so some of what you’re experiencing may yet decrease or disappear entirely. Cervical instability does make your situation more challenging though.

I didn’t suffer from cervical instability so can’t answer either of your questions, but I want to say what a great thought you stated: “I know my well-self is inside”! I LOVE your attitude!! That is an amazingly hopeful mindset. Hope carries us when life’s challenges stumble us.

I hope that as you recover from this surgery, your symptoms again recede & you feel much better than you do now. I’ll pray for that. :pray: :hugs:


Thanks for the insight and kind words. Knowing that my well self is in there is one of a few things that keeps me going. I’m glad I’ve been blessed with experiencing it so that I can keep working on getting better. Fingers crossed!

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I agree with Isaiah, & don’t have CCI so can’t give you any input, I know there’s been some talk on here about how maybe the styloids grew to stabilise an unstable neck…I know that the symptoms commonly ramp up on the opposite side after surgery so that’s common. I guess in theory if one side is still elongated, &/or the ligaments are calcified it could create a tension in the neck & maybe give a feeling of instability, I don’t know :woman_shrugging:
Unfortunately there are so many unknowns with ES & then add to the pot other complicated medical conditions, it’s one big soup!
I’ll be praying for you too & hope that this improves :pray: