Problems after loss of ligaments?

In thinking about having the surgery…it occurs to me that they are just leaving the cut ligaments and muscles hanging out in our neck. From what I understand, the ligaments that are attached to the styloid process help with swallowing. Does anyone know of any long-term problems related to removal of ligaments? Have any of you experienced any problems with swallowing etc due to loss of those ligaments? Thanks…I’m definitely an over-thinker, I suppose.

Not over thinking at all- lots of people ask this! I meant to ask my surgeon before I had the operation, but forgot. All I can say is that I’ve not noticed any difference swallowing, talking etc. since surgery, so presume that they don’t make that much difference. Some members have had a bit of trouble with talking etc after surgery, but that seems to be more about nerves being irritated and affecting it rather than the muscles.
If you think of it ask your doctor, but don’t let it worry you.

Thanks Jules. I have to say that since my recent dx, I have given in to it somehow and feel a bit like I can stop doing battle with it and actually admit how tired I am. So…I’m letting myself off the hook a bit. Thankful for this site and all the extra support and info you all have offered.

1 Like

I’m jumping in after the fact to say I did ask my surgeon pre-op about life w/o the ligaments, & he said they only play a minor role in swallowing, & I wouldn’t miss them. As Jules observed for herself, there seems to be no problem w/ having the stylohyoid ligaments removed. Mine are gone, & I don’t have any worse swallowing problems than before surgery. I did have a speaking problem post- op but that was due to my glossopharyngeal nerve getting irritated during surgery. All is well now though.

I wonder if you could better describe your speaking problems Isaiah? In my work, I need to present findings at meetings and do need to be able speak clearly enough to be understood. Was this the case for you? Thanks…

My glossopharyngeal nerve was wrapped around my right styloid like a vine wraps around a post as it grows. My surgeon had to partially unwrap the nerve to shorten that styloid. As a result the nerve was temporarily irritated/damaged (they’re sensitive little buggers!). My speech was very slurred (as you might imagine that of a very drunk person) for a couple of weeks & didn’t fully recover for about 9 months. It did improve week by week though. There are still words I have to enunciate to say correctly, & I find that when I’m bending over, w/ my head below my waist, I have more trouble speaking clearly than when I’m fully upright. Kind of odd but so it goes.
Even at my worst, I could be understood, it just took effort on my part to speak clearly as the right side of my tongue was paralyzed. Eating was also challenging. You don’t realize how much you use your tongue to move food around in your mouth when chewing until you lose some of its capacity.
The likelihood of you having the same situation is very slim. I only recall one or two other people on this forum reporting similar trouble after surgery.

Thank you Isaiah. Given I have had no trouble with my tongue, etc I am going to assume that particular nerve might not be a problem for me or at least to the extent it has been for you and others.

That’s the best approach, seiders! You’ll do fine & have a good end result.


Isaiah… my nerve also wrapped around my ligament on the right side! Everything is good now 7 months post op and i am now recovering from my left side surgery and i have not had any problems at all with swallowing :slight_smile:

That’s EXCELLENT news, Cadeley, & just what we hope for every person who posts on here! So glad you’ve had a great outcome!!


Pleased that all’s gone well for you! :grinning:

I had a little swallowing issue and tongue issue for weeks after surgery. Slurred speech and my tongue flipped over when opening my mouth, that passed too. All worth it.
Good luck to you.

1 Like

From what I can tell, there shouldn’t be any issues since there is redundancy in what helps us swallow and any other thing that is connected to the styloid process so when those are cut, the other muscles and ligaments do the job. That fact is backed up by the experiences of @Jules and @Isaiah_40_31… And soon to follow, hopefully me

But of course it takes time to heal and get it all properly working again.