Please help! postop panic!

Hey Everyone!! PostOp and TRYING to be positive and trust the process!! I had my left External Styloidectomy 9/26 and right on 11/14… I have had issues ever since the last Surgery but, again, trying to trust the process… but… the swallowing issues are becoming intolerable and Im beginning to drop weight rapidly again, which left me in the Hospital again last week!! I had a CTScan done while there and i picked up the Disc the other day and was able to view it on Radiant today and Im just a bit scared with what Im looking at… my other Support Group is saying it could possibly be Surgical Clips, but my Post Op Notes state that Vistaseal was used for Hemostasis… my backstory is that I was physically attacked and my Styloid was Broken Pre-Op, so, seeing this, Im just so scared!! Looking at my previous Scans and Measurements and my New Scan and Measurements, Im just sooo confused… the part of the Styloid that wasnt broken is still there with the exception of MAYBE 1cm but there are Arteries wrapped around it… but, these little, fragment…? What are they???

Hi @MamaBear6 - I’m so sorry your healing has stopped & your neurological symptoms are progressing. That’s certainly the wrong direction for things to be going at this point!!

Sometimes artifacts show up on a CT scan. It is possible those are artifacts - things that aren’t really there. However, they do look more like calcified bits to me, too.

Surgical clips do show up in CT scans, but since you said your surgeon used Vistaseal, you’d likely not have any clips. Besides, those pieces don’t look like surgical clips as surgical clips look like straight lines in a CT scan, & what you’re seeing are rather random shapes. It’s possible that they are pieces of your stylohyoid ligament which might have been left behind, but I’d be surprised if your surgeon wouldn’t have said something to you if he intentionally left that many bone fragments in place.

It seems sending the scan to both your surgeon & neurologist & seeing them for a discussion about this is your best next step. Certainly if those are bone fragments, they could be causing nerve issues. It would be worthwhile talking to your surgeon about the length of styloid that he left so you can better understand what his surgical strategy was. If there were vascular tissues wrapped around the styloid during surgery, he may have been more conservative in shortening it, BUT he still should have discussed that w/ you afterwards.

Once you talk to your doctors, please let us know what you’ve learned & if there are next steps you need to take. I will be praying for your complete recovery. :hugs: :sparkling_heart: :pray:

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Ive tried contacting, and he is verrrrry choosey with what he wants to answer and dodges MANY questions!! This is what was removed but nothing adds up… SO FRUSTRATING!!

Would you please remind me who did your surgery? If you don’t want to answer on the public forum, click on my screen name & send me a PM.

Looking at your pic of the removed section of styloid compared to the ruler, it looks like a bit over 3 cm was removed. Odd that in your CT comparison it only looks like 1 cm was removed. At any rate, your styloid is still longer than it should be.

I have put an oval around what I think you’re seeing in your current CT scan, & it looks like a mess of broken calcified stylohyoid ligament bits. Seems like those should have been removed. Perhaps some were, based on the fragments in the top picture. The remainder could certainly be contributing to your current symptoms along w/ your right styloid. Unfortunately, we’ve had other members (different doctors) who’ve had a similar post op problem w/ a styloid that was represented as being removed back to skull base or nearly so but a follow-up CT reveals that’s not the case. I have no words to express my frustration & the sense of betrayal that arouses even though I am not the “victim”.
I am so, so sorry!!


That is so weird, I wish I had answers for you! Some of the pieces of calcification you can see pre & post op look around the hyoid bone, so they generally wouldn’t have been styloid pieces & so would have been unlikely to be removed I think? But I agree the photo of what was removed doesn’t really seem to correspond to what you can see on the post-op image, all very odd…especially as you’re feeling worse right now. All I can suggest is that you keep trying the doctors office to get some clarity, I guess you don’t want to go down the route of a formal complaint right now & I’m not sure of the US system anyway, but I do feel you need answers…Sending you a hug & will keep praying for you :hugs: :pray:

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The other side is completely gone though…

I’m afraid I can’t add much medically, but can empathize with the swallowing issues. I’ve had trouble swallowing since my surgery almost 4 weeks ago. Apparently my IXth cranial nerve, aka the glossopharyngeal nerve, was wrapped around the styloid which was removed in surgery. The surgeon’s office assures me it should go away with in six weeks, and if not I should pursue therapy. I’m a pro singer so I’m trying not to freak out, as well.

A friend who was a speech therapist sent me some info on dysphagia - not much there you can’t find on line, but if you want to PM me you email address I can forward what he sent. Helpful tips included turning the head to one side (usually the stronger one) when swallowing, choosing warm or cold liquids (I do better with warm) and adding “bulk” to liquids like water - for whatever reason a smoothie-like texture goes down better than plain water.

I’ve also gone to the local IV infusion place and gotten some nutrition that way, as well as fluids. I feel like that’s helpful, as well. I’ve managed to keep my weight loss to 5-6 lbs so far. I also chew my food to death, then put a swig of water in with it and have found that helpful.

Hoping bot of us can resolve this! Can you at least sip water and smoothies? That was me for the first week, then I slowly moved up to mushy food, and now I can eat most foods as long as I concentrate, chew and add water to help it go down.


That’s what both sides should look like! I totally don’t get what happened though we’ve had other patients who’ve had the identical situation with another popular doctor on our list. It’s so odd that these docs do a great job on one styloid then & barely remove anything in the second surgery. In your case, all I can guess is that maybe that styloid was a lot longer than it looked in the CT scan, & your surgeon thought he’s removed as much as was necessary for symptoms relief? He should be willing to go back in & remove the rest since you’re still symptomatic. I would sure pursue that with him!!


@MamaBear6 - If you see your surgeon again, please let us know what he says. I hope he is willing to discuss your current situation. Make sure you take the images you shared here with you &/or the disc that contains them.

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