New here! Surgery fears

Hi everyone, I am a 45 year old male who has been able to feel the styloid next to me left jaw grow longer over the last decade or more. Symptoms are unclear as I have always had neck pain, have high BP (treated), and trouble swallowing dry foods - but I also have large tonsils which narrow my esophagus. I do get very occasional heart palpitations but doctors say likely related to Amlodipine. And, I’m a rare bird that has far higher BP in winter than summer. Makes me wonder if the temperature fluctuation causes my vegas nerve to touch the styloid OR interfere with the carotid. At the end of day, it’s being able to touch it and know it’s far too long which took me to seek help. Have a CT scheduled with contrast to watch blood flow etc.

With young kids at home, I’m somewhat terrified of the surgery. In Minnesota, there’s real only two doctors with experience. One does intraoral and just breaks it. The other does extra oral and removes at the base.

Any advice from someone else with young kids? The thought of something happening to me devastates me to think about how they would feel.

Help me out. Which surgery is safer?

Having external surgery gives the surgeon better vision & means that they can usually remove more. With intra-oral surgery generally less can be removed, there’s more risk of infection & it can be a tougher recovery. If the styloid is just snapped off, that’s a big no-no, as the end can still be sharp & can cause more damage. Some surgeons we’ve heard even leave the piece in which is terrible as it could cause even more damage. So given a choice, I’d go for external if the surgeon has experience.
anharris has had external surgery with Dr Omilie recently; you could message her to find out her experience, if you search for Dr Omilie in the past discussions you can see her story.
It’s understandable to be concerned about surgery, as all surgeries have risks, especially in the neck area, but if a CT with contrast shows there’s some compression of the arteries then equally leaving it in is a risk too.
We have seen members recently who’ve had Vagus nerve issues through ES; there are quite a few symptoms that can cause, palpitations being one of them, so that’s possible…
I hope that this helps!

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Hi @biggiestyloid!

Welcome to our forum! Your fears are well founded as ES surgery is not for the faint of heart, however, when done by an experienced surgeon, it is quite a successful surgery & the risks of surgical complications are reduced. Dr. Omilie has done ES surgery for several of our members, & I believe they are all happy with their outcomes. Research the posts as Jules suggested, & you can even PM the forum members who’ve had him do their surgeries to get more personal stories. Just click on the screen name of the person you want to PM as it appears above one of their posts & that will take you to a page where you can send a private message.

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Hi Biggie,
I personally chose to external surgery as I felt it was an easier recovery. I generally had a good experience and was pretty functional within a few days although I really needed 3 weeks to fully function. I laid around alot but could do things around the house. If you have a wife or family to help out for a couple weeks, you should do just fine. Ive had over 20 surgeries in my life and this one was a walk in the park compared to some Ive had. Every surgery has its risks but you are young. This is why I try to go to the most experienced surgeon as I believe lowers any risks. I believe in stacking the deck in my favor. I chose to fly out of state.

Prior to this surgery, I did a living will in the event something happened to me as I have an adult daughter who is disabled from a medical condition. I am her caregiver as well. Luckily her older brother lives with us and can help if something ever happens to me.
As for kids, I was a single parent of 3 young kids and put off some medical treatment until they got older because I didn’t have an ex-husband who was competent to care for them and family was at other end of country.
I went with external approach because of faster recovery. I had my tonsils out when I was 17 and it was extremely painful, so much so, they had to keep me in hospital a couple days. That alone helped me to decide which approach. Hope that helps