Nervous about surgery


I am in the military currently stationed near Spokane, Wa. I have had symptoms on right side for over 4 years now, but finally saw a doctor about a year ago while stationed in the UK. The military ENT diagnosed Eagles but was unfamiliar with it and unsure how to proceed. Luckily I was transferred shortly after and immediately met with a civilian ENT in Spokane (Dr Mitchell). He looked at my CT scan and out of the dozens he has seen claiming Eagles, I look like the real deal. He recommended external surgery and did not seem overly concerned about side effects or seriousness of the surgery. We did a steroid shot prior to a temporary duty I needed to attend, but the relief was short lived. Now I am starting to feel pain in my left side.

Reading through the threads, most have had issues being diagnosed and then finding a doc willing to do surgery. This has not been the case for me and this worries me. The doctor seems confident, but he did say he has only done 5 of these.

Has anyone heard of Dr Mitchell? How worried should I be? I feel lucky that he is willing to do the surgery

I apologize for rambling and will appreciate any info or experiences that can be passed on

I haven’t heard of him (I’m the one who maintains the doctors list right now). However, we’ve had a number of people who’ve had successful surgeries with doctors who weren’t that experienced with Eagles. The main thing seems to be whether they have experience operating in that area of the neck. Find out if he’s board certified too.

An important issue to talk to him about is how much of the styloid he intends to take out. We’ve learned that it’s best to take as much out as possible - as opposed to just breaking the tip off or just taking a little bit out. If they only take a little bit out, people often still have problems and then have to search for someone to do a revision surgery.

It’s very possible to have a good outcome with someone who’s done a couple Eagles surgeries before. Obviously we can’t tell you what to do. But talk to him and find out what kind of surgical experience he has in that area and ask how his other Eagles patients did after their surgeries.

It is lucky to find someone quickly and locally who knows about Eagles and is willing to do the surgery.

Thank you for your response. He did say he has had good outcomes with the few he has done, and he is a neck specialist, so he is confident he will be able to get in and keep damage to a minimum. He also stated he would take out as much as he can see. I felt better after seeing him and was thankful I found someone who would do it.

Good luck and keep us posted.

That sounds promising then! I think people can often get ‘the feel’ of a surgeon, whether that’s a good feeling or bad. If he’s used to operating in that area, and knows to take as much out as possible, as heidemt said, and you feel confident with him, then that’s all you can do…
Hope all goes well for you if you decide to go ahead.