Lucky to work in NHS

I work as a Senior Radiographer in the UK - if I didn’t, I would have given up on myself almost before I started.

I am very fortunate to have been offered surgery on my RT. Styloid with extensive calcification .
This would not have happened but for my job.

I am 63yrs old and have had various “neck up” symptoms for untold years, some irritating, some disturbing, all degrading my quality of life.

In 2014 I had a Pacemaker inserted for AV node block ?? necessary ??? caused by ES, I will never know. About 3 months later I suffered a minor TIA but a 100% diagnosis was not possible as my PM excluded me from MRI examination, a Consultant later corrected me sternly saying “excuse me presumed TIA” strange that I had been put on Atorvastatin and Clopidogrel on his direction. I had, however, submitted to CT Carotid Angiography where although my calcification was not reported on "Substantial calcification encompassing the Rt. Internal Carotid " which made assessment of narrowing “difficult to assess but presumed greater than 50%”. Doppler US did not confirm this.

On a separate occasion, back at work, I asked a respected ENT Consultant Radiologist to review my detailed CT for evidence of physical cause for my tinnitus, his exclamation of “ohh look your Stylohyoid ligaments are almost completely calcified” LITERALLY rings in my ears today ( pun probably intended !)

So in essence the discovery was commented on as an incidental finding of no clinical relevance. It was some time before I realised Mr Google might be useful, as nobody else was interested. Putting together long term symptoms I suddenly had Stylohyoid calcification being thrown at me from all directions and I thought “hang on I’ve got that” I do not have the luck to win the Lottery but do have enough bad luck to acquire a rare syndrome i.e. Eagles ! I now feel the rarity could be more out of ignorance and disinterest, you’re not going to become the next Christian Barnard making great advances in treatments for ES.

I am soon to receive the surgery at the hands of my, hopefully, Saviour, an ENT surgeon who, yet again, I could only resource through my work , and to think, in my youth, I nearly joined the Navy !

I returned to my GP surgery to see the same shoulder shrugging variety of GPs that, haven’t heard of it, don’t care about it, do you not think there is some hypochondria in this and methinks you Googleth too much. My tack this time was to approach on a basis of it not being ES but did I not Merit a referral to an ENT surgeon, of my choice, to investigate my numerous disabling symptoms.

So here I am now, hoping desperately that I will benefit from the Pros and avoid the Cons of Surgery. Watch this space !!

Would also like to express my good wishes to, presumably, many here who have had a longer and more arduous time gaining any support in their suffering, but I may equally be underselling my case as I did have my tonsils removed as a child and did experience a dramatic change in metabolism aged 19 when profuse sweating came into my life as an unwelcome guest as it is now, My GP then felt as a young men “I needed my leg over” very professional. My thought now is ??? cause and effect !

Good luck everyone

Well, gra1, thank goodness you are in the profession you are & have the medical background to know when to take notice of something that is “amiss” in your body even if it has been dismissed by people you respect (or maybe don’t respect as much anymore!). It sounds like your journey has had its twists and turns as well. I hope you find surgery to pay off with symptom relief as so many of us have.

Thank you for promising to keep us posted!

Well done to you for not giving it up and working this out for yourself- but how frustrating that you, as an experienced health professional, couldn’t even be taken seriously!! It will be interesting to see what symptoms improve with surgery! If your ENT is approachable- has he ever done this surgery before? It’s important to remove as much of the styloid as possible, and to make sure what’s left is smoothed over if possible…
Hope that your surgery goes well, and keep up that sense of humour! There’s lots of info on here in the discussions about what to expect post-surgery, although it does vary with everyone obviously- the discussions are searchable.
Keep us posted!

Besides removing as close to all you SP as possible…ask if the Surgeon uses Nerve Sensors during surgery [if found that to be very important to me]…No First Bite after first surgery.

Thank you all for your kind words and support and, indeed, advice !
I hope everything proceeds well for everyone here. I like all of you, I presume, would have hated to have spent the rest of my life thinking " if only they’d listened "
Yet again, like most of us, I have probably ignored other health issues, I certainly have prioritised ES over anything else. Hope none of us pay the price !
The predictable number crunchers state that the calcification is uncommon and the unfortunate 4% with ES are rare. I think these statistics are born out of ignorance and disinterest and maintained by shoulder shrugging Medics. I am certain our legions are many, many more than the stats say !

Good luck to everyone and I will turn down the Philosopher job and stick to the day one.

I do agree on the statistics- I think it’s more common than 4% and just underdiagnosed.

Hi i like your wit! I was wondering because your a radiographer can you answer this, i have eagles both sides. When i had my scans ct and mri i was complaining of left side pain, only weeks after i had right side pain. Is the scan checked for both sides or would they just concentrate on the problem side.? Im just worried they might have missed something on the other side. Im in Ireland and i must be the only one here with this!

Thank heavens, a work related question I can actually answer.
Both of these scans routinely demonstrate both right and left sides unless the scan is of an individual limb or part thereof.

Do you know if the question asked was to map your Styloid processes and the calcification attached and, thereafter, the associated structures, blood vessels and nerves especially.

The reason I ask this is, as I have said, my calcification was not reported on at the time of my CT. I later asked one of my Radiology Consultants to review my scan to look for a structural cause for my tinnitus, there was none, but he did comment on bilateral and extensive calcification in both Stylohyoid ligaments. Without this good fortune I would be totally ignorant to the fact of the “incidental finding”. My diagnosis would then have been made at post mortem, just as it was way back when Eagle & Co. walked the earth.

Hope you get the answers you need and deserve with action to follow !!!


Gra1 I had mri before i knew i had eagles that was to check for left sided throat and ear pain in general so that would have been for tissue, cancer etc. Only acouple of months later the right side pain started snd im wondering even though both sides are shown, do they actually check and compare both sides. I just want to rule out any other issues other than eagles before surgery. Mri was normal without looking for eagle syndrome. Then ct scan was done after to look for eagle syndrome which was confirmed.

Once they have picked up on the calcification, which CT is best suited to, then if it is present anywhere it willbe seen especially as your scan was targeted to look for it, from what you say.

The reason I keep stressing “calcification” is that it’s presence in the Stylohyoid ligament is just the start, once you get the right person to listen to you sympathetically, then the diagnosis of Eagle Syndrome can be made combining all your symptoms with the the CT results.

I apologise if a lot of this is old news to you.You appear to have been given an official diagnosis of ES in which case yes, if present bilaterally it will have been looked for on CT and easily found.

One last point, I keep talking about CT as, up to now, MRI is classed as best for soft tissue whereas CT is better for bone which is roughly the same density as calcification.

Hope this helps.


Thanks gra1 so would mri also check two sides for cancer etc? Even though only one sided problem was reported at the time?

Exactly, the brain is very symmetrical so a lot of abnormalities can make themselves relatively obvious on either side

Hi. Just wondering if you had your surgery and how did it go?

I was wondering the same thing also?

Eventually got a date 19th of June!!!
Will update later

Sorry for the delayed reply, Prostatectomy took over!!
June 19th for my neck… Eventually!!!

Sorry for the delayed reply, Prostatectomy took over!!

YIKES!! Sorry you’ve been through so much this year!! I hope you’re well recovered from your first surgery. Glad you have a date to hopefully vanquish ES!

Hope all’s gone well with the prostate & same for the ES surgery…

Thank you both for such kind words