Surgery in one week

I am having surgery next week and was wanting to know a few things. The doctor is doing it externally. Will I be on a special diet afterwards.? What kind of food should I have in my house? I’m a side sleeper so that won’t be good with an incision site. Does anyone use a special pillow?

Hello, I had my surgery externally and I stuck to soft Foods like yoguart, broth, fresh green juices and pudding. I was not extremely hungry for a few days so I focused on keeping hydrated and getting calories in to heal my body. I am a side sleeper also and still sleep with large pillows next to my body so I don’t move around too much. I had a small drain in my neck so I tried hard to sleep on my back. I have been through several surgeries over the past few years but this surgery was pretty easy for me. Good luck

I used a V-shaped/ orthopaedic pillow; it’s good as it takes the pressure off the side of your neck, and also a wedge pillow underneath as I found it more comfortable to be propped up.
As for food- it does vary! After my first surgery I found it really uncomfortable to open my mouth wide and to chew, so I had soft foods like smoothies, yoghurt and cereals for the first week, and then after that it was fine. But after my second surgery I was able to eat normally straight away! So it’s would be good to get a few things in ready in case.
Make sure you take it easy afterwards, and don’t overdo it! Lots of members have felt good and done more than they should (me included!) and done a bit too much after the first week, then found they were in pain again.
I hope that your surgery goes well, and that you’re soon free of symptoms! I’ll be thinking of you,

Thank you for the suggestions. Feeling nervous, but so ready to get rid of the pain.

I had successful external surgery in September. I am also a side sleeper, but was able to sleep on the opposite fine with a regular pillow. It is important to keep your head and upper body elevated for the first few nights to relieve the pressure on the incision. Diet was not a problem, but I too was unable to open my mouth very wide. They cut a lot of neck nerves and muscle getting to the styloid. I had some lip paralysis and facial numbness for a few weeks, but that has all resolved. I also feel it’s important to do some type of physical therapy after you are healed to keep your neck muscles strengthened. I sought out a cranio-facial physical therapist who was helpful. It’s not something my doctor discussed until I raised it as an issue. I continue to do neck exercises to strengthen my neck. I was able to manage the pain with tylenol (be wary of opioids). Good luck.

With the calcified ligament, do they remove the whole ligament? And how
does that work after the surgery?

They removed just the part that was calcified. Mine was 4.2 cm long, and they removed 4.0 cm. The very base of the styloid is connected to the skull (if you google images online, you’ll see a pointed bony protrusion), so they snipped the ligament from the bony protrusion as far back as they could. My doctor said that if they took too much there was a risk of nerve damage and facial paralysis.

None of my doctors really discussed the future stability of my neck or any long-term complications. But it stands to reason that without a ligament holding things in place one should strengthen the muscles in the neck to compensate for the ligament’s loss.

If you are in the U.S., ask your dr. for a PT prescription or look up neck-strenghening exercises online. No physical therapist I reached out to has ever worked with anyone post-surgery (because nobody has heard of it).

Good luck. There is light at the end of this crazy tunnel.

We’ve had a few discussions about what happens when the ligament is cut, and what happens to the ligament if it’s not calcified, and so left in the neck if the styloid process is removed- doctors don’t seem to answer that one, but I don’t think any members have ever noticed that it’s made any difference with their neck/ swallowing etc. after the op. I certainly couldn’t ever feel anything different- other than the ES symptoms going, of course!

Had the surgery Tuesday. Everything went well. I have noticed that my tongue is swollen. Anyone else have that? It’s on the same side that my incision is on.

Glad that you’ve had surgery. I don’t know about the tongue swelling, but some members have had temporary tongue weakness post-op as the nerves get irritated- is your tongue feeling like that too? Could you have bitten it without realising?
Hope that you heal well, keep us posted!

It could be just weakness. Feel great except for the tongue. Has anyone mentioned how long the weakness lasts?


I just saw this post for the first time. I had right side tongue paralysis after my first ES surgery in 11/14. It lasted for 6-9 months & has mostly mended now that I’m 2-3/4 years out from surgery. I have some intermittent swallowing trouble (choking on water & saliva), & occasionally eating is a bit more challenging than it was prior to surgery because my tongue doesn’t move my food around my mouth when I chew the way it used to. That said, I have NO regrets about having surgery. This problem is nothing compared to the problems my elongated styloids gave me!!

I hope you’re seeing improvement in your tongue function by now.