Post-op visit and advice needed

So, its been a little over 5 weeks since my left styloid was removed and I had my post-op visit 2 days ago. I still have throat pain (stabbing feelings when I swallow) and now my right side is beginning to bother me as well. The surgeon said my right styloid is elongated and he will remove it whenever I want him to schedule me for surgery. I can now feel the poking feeling in my right tonsil like I did the left side before surgery. I need advice on this… Do I wait until it bothers me more to schedule to surgery? He said it will take about 1 month out to actually do the surgery and I do not need to see him again. He just wants me to call his office and schedule it. I hate to go through this again so soon but I dread the pain that I know is going to follow if I don’t go ahead and get it removed. Just confused right now. Then another issue is Covid… if they stop elective surgeries again in the fall, I will have to wait longer to have the surgery. Any suggestions, Jules and Isaiah?

Hi luv4pj,

I had bilateral ES & went 9 months between surgeries. Jules had to wait a little over a year for her second surgery. The pain & other symptoms are very annoying but generally not life threatening. Most doctors prefer to wait 3-6 months after the first surgery before doing a second one. If you want to get your next surgery scheduled for 3 months from your first one, I feel that would be safe spacing. I wouldn’t do it sooner than 3 months.

You’re right about the symptoms. If you’re starting to feel them now, they are likely to get worse as time passes. That seems to be how bilateral ES works. We do have some members who never had pain or other symptoms from their second elogated styloid so only needed one surgery, but I think this is the exception to what we’ve noted here.

Yes, I agree to leave it 3 months, although the worry of Covid does make it more complicated! My wait was a year, partly because I wanted to be sure I needed the 2nd surgery, as I’d had less symptoms the 2nd side, but mainly the waiting times on our NHS! Ideally I’d have had it 6 months apart!
It’s a difficult decision to make, :pray: for you…

Thanks so much for your advice. I was actually thinking of calling today to schedule to surgery and if I see improvement, I can always cancel. However, if it continues the path of getting worse, I will probably be looking at a surgery date sometime the end of Sept. This is just so difficult at times. UGH

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I need two operations also, but why wait 3 months? Is it because, healing from first one takes that long. Do you feel numb for awhile after surgery . Worried about swollen tongue and my lip druping. Anybody experience eye or lip drupe

Are you glad you had surgery. Seems like you’re still in pain. Is this normal after surgery? I hope this stuff subsides soon for you…

I know we are all different on our preferences about when to have surgery. I had two surgeries 8 months apart. If I could have had my first choice, I would have gone right into second surgery only a few months after the first. My logic was that I wanted to get to where I was just focused on healing, as opposed to waiting to have another surgery and start over again on healing. In my case, surgery timing was strongly influenced by when I had time in my schedule for the recovery.

Hi eastmas1,
Yes, 3 months wait is to allow the first side to be substantially healed before the second side is done. I begged to have them both done at once but Dr. Samji would not. He said swelling in the throat can be severe post op & it’s dangerous to do bilateral surgery all at once.

Numbness on your face, scar line, neck can last for many months post op. That said, it normally isn’t the kind of numbness that affects your ability to function normally. It’s something you feel when you rub your fingers across the numb area. I’m 5 years out from my second surgery & still have a bit of numbness along my jawline on that side. I only feel it if I touch it.

We’ve had members who’ve had trouble blinking after surgery & others who’ve had lip droop. Another possibility is tongue dysfunction - not swelling but slight paralysis on the surgical side. These post op problems are fairly rare. Whether any or none of them occur depends on which nerves have to be moved out of the way for the surgeon to access the styloid. The nerves are monitored during surgery to keep them from being damaged & doctors are VERY careful, but nerves take exception to being touch & get irritated easily thus creating the symptoms mentioned above. In the end, they heal over a few months & things get back to normal for us.

Dr Samji recommends it, I guess to allow nerves to heal & settle as well as the other structures in the neck.
The facial nerve can easily get stretched/ inflamed during surgery, which can cause eye & lip drooping, it’s pretty common after surgery & usually settles within a few weeks. Tongue swelling could be from intubation maybe?
Numbness is also very common; I still have a couple of small patches along my jaw which are permanently numb, but most of the numbness post-surgery gradually disappeared.
Have you had surgery?

Yikes, I have not had surgery yet, but fearful of facial paralysis and swollen tongue or any tongue issue. As my tongue was swollen for many months, along with no voice after a facelift . I believe intubation caused these issues. My Eagle Syndrome Dr refuses to do both surgeries together also. Pre Op August 20th.

I hit a few pain issues myself, mostly jaw/ear. My right side had a little flair a few weeks ago but calmed down. I’m 16 weeks out and I can schedule 2nd surgery anytime. Although I am feeling better pain wise, Im delaying surgery until Nov. I’m just not ready to have another surgery. I dont want to have both sides hurting and recovering at the same time.
If I started having more pain on the other side and it was bothering me alot, I will push up my surgery. Hope that helps

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eastmas1 -

My personal feeling is that you’re in good hands w/ Dr. Coniglio. Adding the stress of cross-country traveling may not be worth it. Dr. Coniglio sounds like a very experienced surgeon. In addition to 125 ES surgeries (which is significant, BTW - Dr. Samji had only done 75 when he did my surgery), he’s likely done many other types of surgery in that area of the neck. I know you need to feel comfortable w/ your surgeon before heading into a major surgery, but from what you’ve said about him, Dr. C sounds very competent to me. Something hugely in his favor is his willingness to remove the styloid back to the skull base & also remove the s-h ligament if calcified.

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Thanks for saying that. To his credit he knew the problem upon examining me right away. He put his finger in the back of my throat and said he felt it. I was impressed with that and his ordering angiogram and CT with contrast. I’m not excited about a plane ride and unfamiliarity of new place when I’m already stressed. I like my home , my bed when I’m sick. I think you helped me make a decision. Bless you.

Sharon Eastman from my iPhone

Isaiah_40_31
August 9

eastmas1 -

My personal feeling is that you’re in good hands w/ Dr. Coniglio. Adding the stress of cross-country traveling may not be worth it. Dr. Coniglio sounds like a very experienced surgeon. In addition to 125 ES surgeries (which is significant, BTW - Dr. Samji had only done 75 when he did my surgery), he’s likely done many other types of surgery in that area of the neck. I know you need to feel comfortable w/ your surgeon before heading into a major surgery, but from what you’ve said about him, Dr. C sounds very competent to me. Something hugely in his favor is his willingness to remove the styloid back to the skull base & also remove the s-h ligament if calcified.

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Hi eastmas1 -

I was hoping that would be the case (that you’d decide to stick w/ Dr. Coniglio)! I feel confident he’ll do a fine surgery for you. Just know that recovery takes a bit of time & patience. I made the mistake of participating in a 15k (9.3 mi) running event 6 weeks after my first surgery. BAD IDEA! Listen to your body post op. Rest when it says to but take it easy when you’re feeling good. It’s easy to overdo & set healing back.

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