Six days post-surgery

Hi folks,

Last week I had bilateral external styloidectomy performed by Carlos Velez Landeros in Mexicali, Mexico.

The procedure was successful. Immediate relief of pain and, gradually, I’m regaining function of shoulder muscles that had gradually been lost. Tinnitus continues - occasionally diminished, but then it returns, so I am hoping that as the weeks go on it’ll fade away.

Biggest side-effects of the surgery itself are diminished mobility of my lower lip on one side, making my smile crooked. And swelling. I am getting a lot of use out of my ice packs, day & night - during the intervals while I’m re-cooling them the swelling comes up. Then the ice is re-deployed and gets ahead again…

I would recommend this surgeon. He is experienced, thorough, careful, methodical. He does not speak much English though, and so Spanish-speakers & those with international experience will probably be most comfortable with this treatment option.

THH

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Thanks for the update, glad that you’re seeing some symptoms diminish already! Hopefully you’ll get your smile back soon- nerves can take 6 months and even up to a year to heal, so be patient… How did you find having both sides done at once- was there much swelling? Members ask about that quite often but a lot of doctors don’t like to do that.
Thanks for the info on your doctor too; I’ll put him on the next updated list.
Keep resting, it’s easy to overdo things and set more pain off.
Best wishes, Jules

Glad to hear you got immediate relief of some of your symptoms. My tinnitus came and went with swelling so it many take awhile to go away.

As for your smile not beginning equal, Does your tongue stick out straight? I still have a little numbness on my jaw and under on my first side so as nerves return hopefully your smile will straighten out. If not, The are a lot of famous actors with lopsided smiles :smirk:

Hello there,
Happy to hear your surgery was a great success. Wow both sides at one time, interesting.

I am 12 days past left side styloidectomy, and I still love my ice (magic bag).

Wishing you continued success.

A one-sided lip droop isn’t uncommon after ES surgery. It also has a very high healing rate i.e. I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t completely recovered from a post op lip droop. Be encouraged. It will feel & look funny for awhile but should gradually return to normal.

Hi folks,

Ah, this is all really great info & encouragement. Thank you!! Seamom - that is particularly good to hear your experience with the tinnitus. I’m having the same thing, where at times it seems to diminish quite a bit - then it’s back. Overall, I see that I am a little impatient. I must slow down. I must keep icing, and not try getting back to work as I did yesterday…that did not go well!!

Jules - I have read that many doctors are reluctant to do both sides at once. My doctor was confident. He did the longer side on which I had symptoms first, with the understanding that if difficulties were encountered he’d stop there. But he did end up proceeding to the second side. About 40 minutes for each, he said. “Es una cirgugia delicada, si, pero no es grande,” was his comment.

Thanks again everyone!

THH

As you have noted, patience is key for a quicker recovery. I set myself back by several weeks by trying to do too much too soon. I admire your drive in trying to get back to work so soon after a double styloidectomy! Your “good” days will soon begin to out number your “bad” days if you take it easy for the first month or so post op.

Hi Isaiah,

Thanks for your email! I really have been wondering about all this in the past few days. I guess I expected to basically wake up from surgery & feel symptoms all gone - this is not really my experience. The main pain at the source is certainly lifted. But the neurological symptoms persist - the tinnitus, the weak shoulder, the aching & tingles down my arm. I am very relieved that the surgical sites seem to be healing well, swelling diminishing a little everyday. Tomorrow I will be off antibiotics, and aside from Ibuprophen I’m not taking anything for pain.

I try working though, & end up having to lie down & ice some more. Sounds like your experience was also that it takes a good deal of time post-surgery to really feel back to normal? That is really good information for me to consider. I really must try to be more patient & stop worrying & pressing ahead so much.

Thanks again for your perspective!

THH

I did as you are doing after my first surgery & started pushing myself & each time I did, I ended up down for a day or more recovering. My pain med was percocet which made me totally loopy, so I tried to wean myself off of it near the end of the first week post op. MISTAKE!!! I ended up in so much pain, I was down for 2 days trying to play catch up w/ the pain meds. I find it remarkable that you’ve had bilateral surgery & ibuprofen is all you need to manage your pain. That is excellent!

I had vascular symptoms from my right styloid which caused weird heart & blood pressure issues. I participated in a 15K running race 6 weeks post op & still had some of those vascular symptoms which meant that I walked a lot instead of running. By the 2 month post op mark most of those symptoms were gone. I also suffered some nerve damage from my first surgery as my glossopharyngeal nerve was wrapped around my styloid & had to be unwrapped before the styloid could be shortened. The unwrapping process though done gently, left me w/ a partially paralyzed tongue for about 9 months. This made eating & speaking clearly a challenge. I’m about 98% back to normal now & that’s probably where I’ll stay since it’s been 2.5 years. Nerves can take up to a year to heal after injury. Give your shoulder, arm & ear some time. There is a good chance the remaining symptoms will lessen over time & perhaps disappear completely.

As far as getting back into your routine goes, take baby steps. A few minutes each day as opposed to hours. Over the next couple of months gradually work up to what you were used to when you were healthy. Remember that ES surgery is major surgery. Your body needs quiet time to heal.

I used to lift children with my (voluntary) job, so left it a month before I did that, and I used to definitely feel it every time I saw them! If you’ve had shoulder problems for a while it will take some time for those nerves to settle down… I had some weird numbness and tingly feelings in the nerves around my jaw and ear after both surgeries; it’s completely gone now from the first side (2 years post-op now) but still have a bit from the second side which was done a year ago. So lots of patience!!

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Hi THH

Isaiah & Jules gave really good advice… I am also surprised that you are doing this with IBU ONLY
I was on Prednisone for swelling, NorCo for for pain the first week and gradually weened off Gabepentene for the nerve issues over the month post surgery.

Also - I slept on a wedge which helped decrease swelling a lot [Isaiah’s suggestion to me pre-op…thanks Isaiah].

Take it easy, take it slow just glide for awhile!

Hi Isaiah, Jules, & Seamom -

Really great to get this information & reminders about patience & taking it easy. I really was starting to worry, a few days ago, a week after surgery, that if I still had symptoms at all I might always have them - geez! I must really adjust my expectations & have more faith that over time they will diminish. It is good to hear that there are good days and bad days - that moving ‘backward’ a little isn’t necessarily a terrible sign, that things will change for the better again. I have experienced some ups and downs - pain going away & then coming back again.

It’s a relief to be through the surgery that it went well. But I’m not quite to the point of physical therapy, or even stretching, or exercising any more rigorously than just going for a walk.

Thanks again for the help!!

THH

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Happy to hear another post surgery member success story.

Rest well, heal well.
Keep us posted on your journey :hugs:

Hi THH

Almost 3 weeks post-op…how are you doing? Seamom