Styloid Process Broken (Almost Eagle Syndrome)


I reaching out for support on a condition that I’ve finally found after 3 years of searching and the last 2 thinking i had eagle syndrome it turns out i have something really similiar. I ended up having a CT IAC done and my doctor found that i do in fact have a broken / fractured styloid process.

I just have so many questions. My first one is that my styliod process was broken off from the base of the skull, and my doctor told me that normally in cases line eagle syndrome the styliod process is just trimmed down and not totally removed. Is this true? He said hes never seen a broken styliod process before. My second question is that if he is or a doctor does remove my styliod process how can i recover and what is the recovery process like and what are suggestions to recover so i dont heal abnormally and still have persistant pain or heal with abnormal internal scaring what can i do to increase my chances of living a normal life again without anymore pain. Third question i have is if they are unable to help me and doctors refuse to do the surgery because they think its too dangerous is there any type of disability i can collect or is it even possible to recieve disability? My fouth question is what do i do or what can i do about all tge previous doctors i visited or ordered scans or just said im crazy and should take depression medication or see a phychologist / phycaiatrist just saying im crazy or thought i was on drugs making up my pain is there any type i cases i can file agaist those doctors or practices. Cause they honestly caused me more pain saying nothing is wrong with me and messed me up more phychologically. Also how the heck did they miss it being broken i the doctor that showed me the CT saw it clear as day did the previous doctors even look at my scans? Like what the heck its so upsetting and frustrating after all these years of suffering. If anybody can help me with any of my questions i really do thank you in advance.

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Hi @Cdbruce -

I’m glad you FINALLY saw a doctor who had a clue.

First off, as much as “getting back” at the doctors who misdiagnosed you would feel good, the time & money it would require to sue each one would probably do you in financially & emotionally so it’s best not to consider that option. I expect there’s a way to file a formal complaint against them w/ the medical board or medical group(s) they’re associated with, but you’d need to call their offices or do some online research to see how to do that. If you want to inform them that you have a legitimate diagnosis, send them each a letter w/ a copy of the formal diagnosis which your current doctor has given you.

Whether your styloid process is still attached to your skull or not, IF it is causing symptoms then you have Eagle Syndrome. The best results from styloidectomy surgery happen when the styloid is cut back as close to the skull base as possible so your doctor is both right & wrong. Because of the very important cranial nerves that exit the skull near where the styloid attaches, most doctors do not do a true skull base removal but leave ~1 cm (sometimes less) of styloid to protect those nerves. It’s nearly a complete removal. In most cases, when the styloid process is “just trimmed down”, symptoms often don’t go away, & if they do, the styloid tends to regrow so another surgery is necessary to cut the styloid off again & hopefully short enough the second time so that regrowth doesn’t occur again. We have members who’ve had broken styloids & have had successful styloidectomies. What you have is not much different than someone whose stylohyoid ligament has calcified but is separate from the styloid process. It’s just calcification slightly lower down than the styloid.

If you get your styloid removed by an EXPERIENCED ES SURGEON i.e. a surgeon who has done many successful styloidectomies, your chances of having a good outcome are excellent. It sounds like your current doctor isn’t very experienced with ES. I would NOT have him do your styloidectomy.
There is a ton of information on our forum about surgical recovery & what to expect. Basically, the first 1-2 weeks after surgery are when you’ll be the most uncomfy, but if you take your pain meds as ordered, ice your neck several times per/day & night, sleep w/your head elevated, & take it easy, it’s not as bad as you might expect.
The amount of scar tissue a body makes is individual. Some people make more & some less. You can help reduce the amount of internal scar tissue that builds up by gently massaging the incision starting about a month after surgery. Usually excess scar tissue isn’t a problem.
Full recovery can take a number of months because nerves are slow to recover, but they do recover. Many of our members have gone back to work after a week or two of recovery, but we recommend starting back part time.

I don’t know where you live, but if you’re able to travel to see one of the doctors on our Doctors List, I expect you wouldn’t be refused surgery. None of these doctors would consider your case to be “too dangerous”. Dr. Cognetti & Dr. Costantino do video initial consults & Dr. Hackman requires them to be in person -

Dr. Cognetti in Philadelphia, PA, Dr. Hackman in Chapel Hill, NC, & Dr. Costantino in White Plains, NY, are three excellent surgeons in the eastern part of the US. There are also good doctors in other areas as well. Here’s the link to our current Doctors List:

Regarding disability, you can apply for Social Security which eventually allows you to receive Medicare coverage as your medical insurance. I know nothing about the application process so you’d need to explore that. Again, I fully believe if you have your styloidectomy done by an experienced ES surgeon, you will not need to give a second thought to going on disability.

There are many very experienced doctors that don’t have a clue about ES & the MANY & CRAZY symptoms it causes. Many of our members have been diagnosed as hypochondriacs, drug seekers, stressed out, etc, & they’ve been sent to psychiatrists. The diagnosing docs are just ignorant & don’t know to look for styloid elongation. It’s not that they didn’t look at your scans it’s that they didn’t know what to look for & instead of trying to figure it out by doing some extra research, they took the easy route & dismissed you. I am so very sorry this happened to you & that you’ve suffered for so long.

Your problem is solvable & with a good surgeon at your side, your recovery from the current symptoms should be pretty complete. One thing I need to add is, do your symptoms indicate you may have vascular compression? There are two forms of ES - vascular & non-vascular. If you have the vascular version i.e. your styloid(s) is/are compressing either your internal jugular vein(s) (IJV) or internal carotid artery(ies), (ICA) then we will recommend specific doctors for that as not many in the US do the necessary decompression surgery especially for the IJV.

I hope all this information is helpful. Please feel free to ask any other questions you have especially about doctors on our list so we can help you make sure to see someone who will make a difference for you.


Hello @Cdbruce! I’m so glad you posted. @Isaiah_40_31 answered your questions so well I have nothing to add other than, leave those docs who dismissed you behind you in your dust and you move forward now with the new ES family you’ve found and a name to your diagnosis. You can get better and you WILL get better. I was disheartened to learn the ES journey to help is a walk instead of a sprint but hey, one foot in front of the other toward progress.

Where are you located? If you type “Surgeon’s List” into the search bar at the top of the homepage of this site, a list will come up by state. Once you have the doctor’s names, you can also type them into the same search bar and read about them. If you’re anywhere near Colorado, Dr. Hepworth seems like a very good choice. I believe a few others have mentioned Dr. Old in Ohio. Sometimes members have to pay out of pocket and sometimes only one side needs to be done. Dr. Osborne is in Southern CA and Dr. Samji is in Northern CA (Bay Area in San Jose). Read extensively about your surgeon and if anything, just try to get a consult with someone to get more questions answered. Fight like you’re fighting for your life right now because ES can become debilitating. Stay strong. You’re exactly where you need to be and you have a name for your condition. That’s fantastic progress. Keep up the good work and keep moving forward. There is light at the end of the tunnel. You’re almost there.