Post surgery problem


I continue to have brand new issues with my trapezius muscle / shoulder and neck post surgery. It is severely painful when moving the arm, lifting light objects typing, ,etc. When I shrug my shoulders the left cannot go up much but right is ok. When I put my hands above my head the traps hurt thus cannot get all the way up. Left clavicle protrudes some. Shoulder and arm are weak in certain positions. It does not appear to be resolving.

A brief search indicates it could be an issue with the spinal accessory nerve. It is the nerve that innervates the trapezius, and is in the same area of the surgery (I think).

Any body have any experience or any suggestion s about this? I'm scheduled to go back on the 15th but have sent a note to the doctor offering to come back sooner.



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It's a good idea to see your doctor again, I hope that he can have some answers for you. I'm not sure that I've read about anyone on here, but the doctor who did my op mentioned in the 'risks of surgery' talk that someone he'd operated on did have shoulder problems from nerve damage. At the time I was just glad to have the op and felt that was a risk I was prepared to take. Hopefully it will improve with time.

God Bless, Jules

Sorry Eddie...I hope it will get better soon and hugs

Hope you feel better soon. Let us know.

Eddie, I was wondering what your doctor said. When I had my last eagles' surgery, that was one of the things they checked for a number of times because that was one of the nerves that could be affected - they had me raise my arms and checked for range of motion and pain around the arms and shoulders.

Heide, just saw them yesterday. I do have classic symptoms of accessory nerve damage. They said a number of things. The position they put my head in - rotated to the right and extended - could have caused it; and that the nerve (accessory nerve) could be stretched. The surgeon didn’t think he hit the accessory nerve. He said it should resolve - told me to do PT, etc and I’m going back on Oct 20th for CT - A scans. We / they are also contemplating taking the excess c1 bone out. But there is a small risk of ischemic attack from the vertebral artery - scares me! I’m all surgeried out right now. They said and I agree that we need to resolve this neck / shoulder issue and also let Eagles surgery settle etc before considering the other surgery - I agree. Im in a lot of pain - I hope it resolves.

I've been doing some researching on ES, and found that you're right- one of the cranial nerves, CN XI, has motor function with the pharynx and also the sternocleidomastoid and trapezius muscles. It has a bit of a strange course but seems to exit the skull with the Glossopharyngeal and Vagus nerves, which are very close to the styloid process. So perhaps it has been damaged in surgery. On wikipedia it says that 'Injury to the spinal accessory nerve is most commonly caused by medical procedures that involve the head and neck'.

Have you been back to see the doctor, how did you get on?

Eddie- sorry your reply must've appeared as I was typing mine- sorry to hear that you're still in a lot of pain... are they going to do physio or anything? I'm sure that the last thing you want to consider at the moment is more surgery, but hopefully the nerve will heal with time. Apparently B vitamin complex and fish oils are supposed to be good for nerve repair- I'm giving it a go anyway!

Jules, they recommended physio and I have one in Atlanta. I just got in from trip to Pittsburgh to see docs. I’m going to jump back on b vitamins and fish oil too. Yeah the accessory nerve is commonly injured during procedures. The surgeons were on the defensive a bit I thought; I’m torn up pretty bad - - winging of the traps, etc. i hope I get better but am concerned I have a bad situation;! and also hope these surgeons are proactive in helping me ( order EMGs etc). Jules, how is your recovey going ? Did you see improvement after several weeks? Thanks, Ed

There are supposedly procedures / surgeries they can do to repair the damaged nerve; and your not supposed to wait more than 3 months or so.

I don't know how relevant this is, but after my second eagles surgery, I was in real bad pain that went down my torso that was apparently from damage to the vagus nerve. It eventually healed, but it took about 4-6 months.

Hi heidment, when did u have your surgery n who is your doctor? Are you fully healed now?

I've had 5 surgeries and I think I'm finally healed now. I'll send you a friend request so we can email.

Joy said:

Hi heidment, when did u have your surgery n who is your doctor? Are you fully healed now?

heidment so sorry for the suffering…I did not know that it can be so complicated…I was thinking that you do the operation and that it is!So if the surgery failes they have to repeat it? And if you do privately then you have to do again? o my God! You poor soul…5 surgeries…is this normal autcome…this is so scarry! You should put here if he messed up! I am about to decide when to have surgery…God bless you

Zdravka, how do I find the support group for burning tongue (mouth). Thanks, Eddie

dear eddieh…do you hsve a BMS? I am.a member of two.groups…one is small cca 180 members…fantastic group…this I would recomend The new burning mouth suppport group…you have this horrific dissorrder! From what? my Fb profile is Zdravka Rostocil…we can be friends…I wil be on line for 15 minutes…BMS group is on FB…see you x

Zdravka, it wasn't so much that the doctor messed up. My first doctor did an intraoral surgery and didn't get enough out and I was still having symptoms. My first doctor had never done an eagles surgery before and thought he just had to break the tip off. But that's a pretty common story - lots of people still have symptoms from a first surgery from an inexperienced doctor that didn't get enough of the styloid out.

Then I got vascular Eagles on the other side and had to get that taken care of.

Then I got another surgeon to take out more of the first styloid and I was better, but still symptomatic, even though the piece of styloid left was only around 2 cm. That doctor did a good job and normally getting the styloid down to 2 cm would be good enough. Two weeks ago I had a last surgery where I found a great doctor who took the last piece out and now I'm finally done and free from Eagles and free from the pain.

So the unusual part for my case was that I still having pain from 2 cm of styloid. It's unusual to have pain from a shorter piece of styloid, but it's not unheard of. So that's why I always try to tell people to find a doctor who will take as much of the styloid out as possible. I'm finally out of pain, but it took several painful years, lots of effort, and seeing lots of doctors to get there.

Dear the best thing is to take out the whole styloid right up to the scuul base?Thank you ?

Yes, absolutely.

Zdravka said:

Dear the best thing is to take out the whole styloid right up to the scuul base?Thank you ?

heidemt- did you have a chance post surgery to ask the surgeon what he found- was the end sharp or anything, or was the styloid process very angled? I'm trawling through a bit of research at the moment, and I know you sent me some, there was one study which mentioned the angle of the styloid being as important as the length. I know you've always said that, it makes sense as that does then impact on all the neurovascular structures in a very small space, and also narrows the space with the cervical vertebrae processes. Glad that things are improving for you.

BTW- are you okay in Hawaii? Heard on the news tsunami warnings?