Surgery- Excision Bone Styloid Process

This is a running journal of My surgery on Aug 21, 2017. I am a 55 year old male with eagle syndrome on both sids of my neck. Otherwise health an in decent physical shape. I elected to have this surgery after two year of living with the pain left side much greater that the right. Taking nortriptyline 25 mg daily and dicofenac 50 mg twice a day as needed. My pain is fairly well managed by the medications. I elected to attempt this surgery to try to get some relief far enough so that I can get off of the nortriptyline. Even though I’m on a low dose, I do not tolerate drugs very well and have nearly every side effect listed.

Surgery prep
They had me stop taking all vitamins such as fish oil two weeks prior and all nsads one week prior. The surgery was expected to be outpatient. And a relative took me to the hospital for the surgery.

Pre-op all went well. Much of the time waiting is spent with the nurse and anesthesiaolgist answering question.

Rolled me up to the OR room. The operating room team went through their time out check and it was lights out for me.

Waked up as rolling away fro the OR to a fit of coughing out the intubation tube lubricant and in a great deal of pain in the left side an back of the neck. Pain so bad that I was sweating. Rolled me into past op and quickly added some strong pain mods via my IV.

Doctor stood by my bed and explained that I was staying over night to get the pain under management. The styloid was much thicker than expected - 1.4 cm thick - and it was wrapped up by the nerve group (I forgot the nam) under and behind the ear. It was slow going to remove that section without damaging nerves. And was not practical to take the calcified ligament to the hyoid. To large and close to important tissues and nerves.

So spent the day in the room working with the nurse anesthetist to control the pain. Fortunately was sucssful by later that afternoon.
I have a JP drain in my neck to draw off fluids. Not gettin to much fluid from it.

Aug 22

Wow! That’s scary! How do you feel now? I will be having surgery Oct 2nd. What kinds of symptoms did u have besides pain

Hope that you heal quickly and that the surgery is successful! Nerves can take a while to settle, so I would keep on the nortriptyline for a bit. And take it easy! Best wishes!

1 Like

Sounds like you made the right decision to have surgery & that you chose a good surgeon. I hope, too, that you heal quickly but do be patient with your body & take it easy as long as it tells you to. Rest when you need to. These things - patience, listening to your body & resting as needed will help expedite your healing. Also take your pain meds on the schedule required by your doctor. Never let the pain get ahead by trying to cut back on pain meds too soon. Playing catch up w/ pain meds can take a couple of days.

22nd - day two
The pain is well managed that morning. Learned that ice on the neck area increased the pain. A lot… heat heating pads are my friends. Ask for several if you are staying in the hospital a night or two. The ice increasesd the cramping around the surgery area for me adding greatly pain to the side and neck.

My left ear and face side are numb. Nurses and doctors tell me that it is normal and will take several days or more to come back to life. It will hurt for a while after it does Back of my head is cramping along the base of the skull. Heating pads and some meditation helps to deminsh the pain. The operation was external so only have some throat pain from the airway tube used during the surgery.

drugs I’m taking above my normal are 5mg of oxycodone every four hours with a mild stool softener. 325 Tylenol x2 every six hours, methocramol(mild muscle relaxer) up to thee times a day as needed. Also maintaining taking 25mg of nortriptyline before bed.

a Small amount of blood thinner was used while in the hospital
3 times during the night to prevent blood clots. I’m told that is why they had me stop fish oil two weeks before because the blood thinners can react to it.

I was instructed by the doctor to keep taking all pain medication even if I feel good. Well managed pain promotes good healing. I will fully comply with his instructions even though I really dislike the feeling I get from OxyContin

Physical therapist came by and tested all my movement and ability to decent and climb stairs. Left arm does not lift to the side on its own. Told that and the numb side of the face and ear is normal. Gave me a set of exercises to do starting that day.

The hospital I’m at is a research and teaching hospital so a few group of interns stopped by to hear my story.

They let me out that afternoon. The ride to my sisters house was painful. Michigan roads are poorly maintained and I felt every single bump. Took a couple hours of heating pad time to calm the pain down again.

Headache and a little unsteady on my feet. Some of the early pain prior to the surgery seem to be gone. The pains that dissipated are the spikes of electrical like shocks to my tung and eye. Also have the bulk of the hearing loss I was experiencing before is much better. I can hear out of the left ear now.

I have had electric shock symptoms also in my eye, head and chest. I don’t
hAve pain at all I just have vascular symptoms. I have a lot of numbness on
my left side from my left eye to my thorat. The one thing that is very hard
for me is the popping everything I turn my head left it pops and pops it
could be 100 times a day and it reduces my vision. I hope all these are
coming from this so these can hopefully go away. I hope all goes much
better and continues to only become better! :heart: lots of luck to you!

One thing your doctor didn’t give you that mine did is Prednisone to help keep the post op swelling down. I had to take it for about 10 days post op. Swelling can cause numbness & pain. The purpose of ice is to help reduce swelling. Your heating pad will increase circulation to the operated area & ultimately help promote healing, but it may actually promote some extra swelling now which could be why you are feeling the numbness so acutely (in addition to the nerve irritation that occurred during the surgery).

FYI, fish oil is a natural blood thinner, & that’s why people are told to stop it pre-op. Since your surgeon gave you a blood thinner while you were in the hospital, I’m sure he had you stop the fish oil pre-op so he would know more precisely how much blood thinner was in your system when it was given to you after surgery.

It’s great news that your surgeon is having you take a stool softener. You may find a laxative is also necessary as Oxycodon is an opioid drug, & they are notorious for causing terrible constipation.

So glad your sister is helping you through this time of healing. That’s what family is all about!!

Day three and four
Pain starting to come down some and actually got a decent nights sleep.

Went back to the hospital to have my P-tube removed by the PA. Dr happened to be in so he came and checked up on me had a conversation about my progress and tested my movements in my arm and neck. He emphasized the importance of me doing my PT exercises several times daily.

My left shoulder and neck are quite stiff and sore. But everything seems to be getting a little better. The swelling is coming down. Dr referred me to outpatient physical therapy, to start as soon as practicable.

Keeping on Ann the pain medication prescribed which, will take me to next Tuesday.

I’ll check back in after a couple more days or if something new comes up.

My desire is to leave this as a record of my experience so that it may somewhat help others

Glad to hear you’re beginning to feel better!!

Yes, glad that things are improving, hope your arm and shoulder do too. The record of recovery is really helpful for others thinking about surgery, thanks!

Thank you for all of the information about your surgery and recovery!!! Just like Tambrelee, I am scheduled for surgery Oct 2!! It can’t come soon enough now. Besides daily lightheadedness nd fatigue, I’ve had terrible pain the last 2 days. Well, I Always have pain but this has me down nd out!
Please keep us posted because I need the hope! :grinning::heart_eyes:. Prayers for your recovery!

One week out from surgery

Swelling is down to the surgery site and just below the jaw under the left ear. It is still painful enough to need to maintain on the OxyContin. A hot sharp burning pain that raises into the side of the head. Still a bit numb on the side of face and ear. But it is slowly getting less painful and numb each day…

The positive reduction in pain are:
No longer have the occasional sharp lightning spike sparky like pain into the left eye, ear, tung, or chest. Have not gotten the once or twice a day extreme shock of pain on the left side face and arm that feels like it stops my heart since the day before the operation.

Glad that you’re seeing positives, and glad that the swelling is going down. I still have numbness a bit on the side of my face and ear (over a year since my 2nd op), so not sure if it will go now, but I’ll take that over pain anyway! Take it easy still!

Glad you’re sticking w/ your pain meds while you need them. I had to take mine for a solid 2 weeks & then was able to spread the time between each pill out starting in week 3. Also good to hear that you’re seeing positive results from surgery & that you’re healing!

Right now at four weeks out from the surgery.
It still hurts at the incision area and shoulder. Pain is different than before the operation and sometimes even greater. Numbness in the left ear and side of face remains. Doing physical therapy. Hopefully this is just pain from healing and not a sign that we made thing worse.

Hopefully you will keep healing, it does take time, up to a year sometimes for nerves to heal and settle down. Thinking or you…