So I’ve basically had what I called ME/CFS for about 7 years, my main symptoms being brain fog and fatigue.
About 3 years ago I was first diagnosed with TOS by Kjetil Larsen. My TOS symptoms became more obvious over the course of the last 3 years (with very tight scalene muscles, brain fog and headache, and pain while raising arms) and in May 2023, I finally had TOS surgery with Dr. Kamran Aghayev in Istanbul.
Dr. Kamran is an excellent surgeon and a very kind human being. He also had invented a unique surgical method for TOS called the PURE technique (via the upper back), which is significantly safer and has better outcomes than the transaxillary technique (via the armpit) used by other TOS surgeons. This is what prompted me to choose him.
I had quite substantial symptom relief immediately after the surgery. My brain fog was significantly reduced, I had noticeably less fatigue, and rotation and extension of the neck became significantly easier. I could do activities like swimming which was basically impossible before surgery.
This improvement continued for about four months after surgery. Around the fourth month, I would say I had recovered 50% normal function and was closer to getting back to a normal life.
But it is now 7 months after surgery, and over the last 3 months, it seems that the symptoms of Eagle syndrome have gotten worse and worse.
My main symptoms right now are significantly worsened brain fog, pain/stiffness in the back of the neck (trapezius, levator scapulae muscles), excessive bloating/moderate gastroparesis. Neck pain, headache and brain fog rapidly increase with flexion of the neck.
These new symptoms have resulted in me going back to about 10-20% normal function, and resuming a normal life seems unlikely until the ES is resolved.
My TOS surgeon was in fact the one to (incidentally) first diagnose me with Eagle syndrome. Before this I wasn’t even aware that I had Eagle syndrome.
It is worth noting that the brain fog/headache that I feel right now feels different from the particular kind of headache that I had with TOS. The TOS headache was a constant feeling of severe pressure throughout the entire head, but the ES headache is localised to the top and back of the head and the forehead.
The neck pain is also different. The TOS neck pain was primarily due to tight scalene muscles and was triggered by rotation and extension of the neck. The ES neck pain is in the trapezius and levator muscles and is triggered by flexion of the neck.
It is unclear why the Eagle syndrome symptoms are getting worse now. It was my original supposition that TOS was responsible for the majority of my symptoms, and indeed the immediate symptom relief and continuous improvement in the first few months after TOS surgery initially seemed to suggest that.
My surgeon has suggested that I wait at least 18 months to fully recover from TOS surgery (which indeed was a quite invasive and complex surgery despite the successful outcome), before considering ES surgery. But it is a long time to wait! I am unsure of how the symptoms will progress over this time.
Here are pictures of my styloids. I am not sure how to measure how long they are.