Post Surgery Pain

I had my first ES surgery (left side) a little over 10 weeks ago. I have very little pain from the surgery itself at this point, but my ES pain in my throat has gone through the roof and continues to get worse. The surgery has provided relief from my shortness of breath. This is much better, but the pain has become unbearable. As I have read in other blogs, mine starts first thing in the morning when I mover or swollow and continues to get worse as the day progresses. Tinnitus and vertigo follow the pain and increase as the pain does. My question for other more experienced ES followers is why has my pain gotten so much worse. I understand that maybe it’s the other side that is causing the pain, but why would one surgery make it 10x worse on the other side. Can I expect this to improve with more time? Thank you

What type of surgery did you have done & how much was removed?

I had an oral surgery (tonsillectomy) first and only part of the ligament was removed and part of the hyoid (not styloid). My pain did not improve and in fact got worse like you mention. The worst part was the sensation of foreign object in the throat was greatly increased and “sharper”. I also just felt it was all “off” and constantly ached. I don’t attribute it to the “other side” triggering new pain or things feeling off balance, even tho I know it’s elongated. I think things just got really irritated and not enough was removed.

I waited 2 months and had the external surgery on the same side 2 weeks ago. I’m still recovering from an infection and have a ton of swelling, so I can’t say for sure but I do think it’s feeling better. This time the dr removed most the styloid, more of the hyoid, and the calcified ligament. Once I am more healed I can update you.

Have you considered getting a follow up ct scan?

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Sorry that you’re in pain still after surgery…Nerves can get irritated during surgery, often they need to be moved out of the way so can get stretched, so this can cause pain. But would’ve thought that it would be settling by now if it was just irritation from surgery.
Have you had a follow up with your doctor? How experienced was your surgeon, & do you know how much of the styloid process &/or ligament was removed? We’ve had members who’ve had surgery & not much has been removed, & the remainder not smoothed off so it can be sharp & still cause pain. Some doctors have also just snapped off & left the styloid piece in! I’m not saying this is what’s happened, but premedmom’s suggestion of having another CT is a good idea, you might get an idea of why the pain is worse.
Thinking of you…

Hi Mark,

I also had bilateral ES, & my remaining styloid process wasted no time in creating extra pain while I was healing from symptoms caused by my first styloid. Unfortunately in bilateral cases, it’s hard to know which styloid is causing which symptoms until one is removed. Some symptoms are contributed to by both styloids whereas others are unique to a given styloid. It’s possible your throat pain had nothing to do w/ the styloid that was removed & is solely being caused by your remaining styloid i.e now that one is gone, the other is jumping into action in a more pronounced way. This is just a guess based on my experience.

My surgery was external. The doctor is being real secretive about how much he removed, but I’m guessing 2cm. Mine were over 4 cm long. The surgeons follow up has been very poor and boarderline incompetent. I have transferred all my records to another surgeon who is on this web sites preferred doctors list. My appointment is Dec 9th and we’ll see what needs to come next with what I hope is a competent ES surgeon. I didn’t know about this ES forum since I first went into surgery. I wish I would have known as the outcome may have been better. Did you have the 2nd surgery on the same side with a different surgeon? If so, why did you change and what made them decide to do a 2nd surgery. It would be good if I could understand the criteria for this prior to seeing my 2nd surgeon. Thank you so much for the feedback, and I hope you start feeling better soon.

Wow, yes that is really long ! I have hope that your Dec 9th appt will bring a dr who can help you! :pray:t2:

My 2nd surgery was to treat the same side of the hyoid bone. Same surgeon. The 1st surgery thru the mouth was too limited and not enough was removed. I had more pain after. He recognized that he did not get everything when he saw the post op ct scan and was willing to do external.

Thank you. I still don’t understand why the surgeon refuses to do a post op ct scan or any other sensible follow-Up to the surgery he performed. I didn’t even think of this till it was mentioned on this forum, but it makes perfect sense. Regardless, I am moving on to a new surgeon and I feel better equipped to discuss treatment options thanks to all the information you have provided. I’m kind of old school and was raised to believe that all doctors ‘walk on water’. I still have a deep respect for the medical community, but this has really been an eye opener to the fact that there might be some medical professionals out there that are simply incompetent and doing the absolute minimum for their patients. It’s like in college when On a few occasions I would get a professor who was operating of the same syllabus and lecture material that they had been using for a couple or more decades and were completely out of touch with the current reality, yet their tenure protected them from having to make any changes or care about their students. Well, now I’m ranting, but it feels good at some level to get this frustration out in the open. Hopefully I won’t carry much of this to the new surgeon. He maybe doesn’t deserve to hear it. I’m also curious - what surgical adjustments would they do to the hyoid bone. Again, thank you all so much for your help.


Hi Mark. I had a older physician that really, really upset me. He’s been practicing for 30 years and had an incredibly cocky attitude. I got a little flustered and panicky when he said surgery was too risky. He then looked at my husband and said - is this normal for her? Like do I normally get upset over life-changing news. He was totally that paternalistic doctor style of: “there there, don’t worry and just trust everything I say and you’ll be all better.” A month later I found an amazing, young surgeon who told me I sounded well-educated. Not all physicians are created equally. And of course I don’t mean to stereotype. But I moved on and it couldn’t have worked out better. Praying the same for you.

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Thank you SewMomma!

Yes, had a similar experience- the older consultant I saw first said that he wouldn’t operate unless I was suicidal with pain. Luckily I wasn’t, but when I asked for pain relief medication he asked ‘What for?’!! He didn’t believe the styloids could compress blood vessels either! I found out about a great UK doctor on here, had scans which showed bilateral jugular compression! So I had 2 successful surgeries, & luckily never had to see the 1st doctor again!
I hope that you get a good doctor for your next appt!

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Ranting is perfectly acceptable here! We’re good listeners! :wink:

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