Surgery Is Complete! Dr. Annino is Amazing!

Done and Done!!! If you can, definitely go see Dr. Donald Annino at Brigham and Women’s in Boston, MA. I can’t even begin to say enough about him and the hospital!!! He is a ninja and I have none of the nerve side effects I have been so scared about and read many of you all unfortunately have had. I do have some, such as numbness around the cut and face and my right hand/arm doing what it wants sometimes as if someone else is controlling it, ha. Also, fairly severe pain from my ear to my pectoral muscles, which seems to be fairly normal. Surgery went incredibly well and my anesthesiologist was also incredible.

I did get sick the first night and WOW was that the worst thing imaginable to say the least. Don’t eat anything rich or creamy the first couple days!!! I was pretty lucky as I was put in a suite, at no additional cost, due to lack of available beds. It was pretty incredible!!!

Dr. Annino removed 1 3/4” - 2” of the right styloid, in two pieces for safer removal along with some of the ligaments/muscles. Unfortunately I was not allowed to keep the styloid. I woke up from surgery with a significant cut and drain installed. (See picture) Dr. Annino said that scar tissue should form in the coming weeks and help the function of what was removed. He was not comfortable removing the styloid any closer to the skull due to the high risk of infection and additional muscle removal. He said he removed enough to offer me relief of my symptoms along with plenty of additional room for the styloid to move freely. When he opened me up, he found that the styloid was pushing on my jugular vein and carotid artery when my head was turned to the left, and assumed that when turned to the right into some of my nerve pathways. Scary at hindsight and lucky that I didn’t get more damage with all that my styloid was hitting.

Recovery has been a bit better than expected, however, since I have been seeing pain management for years, due to many other issues; the pain meds aren’t working like they do for most. Luckily it’s bearable and should start getting better in another week.

The best idea was renting a zero gravity lift chair which I have slept in since surgery in a hotel room. That was the life saver for me!!! The local rental company and hotel were great with accommodating the delivery and pickup. At home, i am lucky to have a Reverie bed ( which has the movable/zero gravity base and fully adjustable firmness every 4-6”. With that I can toy with sleep angles as tolerated. I cannot wait to be home and actually sleep in it! Living in a hotel for 11 nights now and it is beyond old! Sure hope and think I will recover better and faster at home!

As a short time has passed and being immune deficient, the pain is steadily getting slightly worse (assuming usual healing process) and meds aren’t lasting like they do for most people. But like anything, things usually get worse before they get better! Overall I cannot complain as everything has been wonderful (especially considering my original fears) and I can definitely tell something’s “gone” and thank God for that!!!

At my one week post-op appointment he said everything I am having is normal and should start noticing more and more relief two weeks post-op. Will be back at work two weeks from surgery and will be doing half days to get back into it.

If at all possible, without question consider Dr. Donald Annino ( if you are trying to locate a surgeon and can get up to the New England area. He is in Boston, MA and my location was Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is also on staff at other local hospitals in the area I believe and has cancer experience which seems to be better when it comes to this surgery. He really is a ninja when it comes to surgery!!! Least damage of anyone I’ve read about on this site. Almost all pain is surgical!

If you have any questions let me know!

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I am so happy for you! Thanks for all the good information.

Thank you for all the good news, & your incision looks great! Glad you’re doing so well! Be aware that you had major surgery, & you will experience the 2 steps forward 1 step back “syndrome” during recovery. You’ll feel great one day (so be careful not to overdo) then have no energy & will feel less great the next. You’ll feel like your nervy stuff is finally healing then your nerve pains will ramp up again or change. This is all part of recovery. Nerves take up to a year or more to heal. I’m 4 years post op & am still seeing positive changes as far as nerve recovery goes. It will take you a good 6-8 weeks to feel fully recovered so err on the side of caution activity-wise till then.

Thanks so much for the advice and information Isaiah! It’s easy to try and do more than you should, but I have already had a few forward and several steps back days! I’m trying my best to be absolutely lazy and slowly get back to normal. It is an amazing relief to have the surgery behind me and look forward to better days ahead! Just having to remind myself constantly to be patient. I will without a doubt take your advice! Thank you again!

Thank you Kaytee! You are welcome.

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Why do they put the tube? How long does it stay in?

Hey Kaytee. They put it in to assist in drainage. All it is is a surgical drain. Usually keep it in for 24 hours as long as enough drains and sometimes up to 48. It helps get excess fluid out from around the wound and to assist your body from having to absorb and get rid of it itself. I think I said that correctly!

Not all doctors use drain tubes nor do all require a hospital stay. Dr. Samji never put a drain tube in my neck for either surgery. He does prescribe prednisone to be used post op which is his method for helping post op swelling. He also does surgery outpatient at a surgery center as opposed to requiring a hospital stay. He will do surgery at the hospital near the surgery center if insurance requires it (Medicare for example) & keep the patient in over night.

Egads. I can’t take prednisone. Still waiting for Samji to take a look at my CT scan and let me know whether I am a candidate for surgery.

Glad that you’ve had a successful surgery, & hope that you recover soon, hope all the other pains go. Lots of rest & patience!

Thanks Jules! As do I. Sitting still this long sure isn’t easy ha, but as I am noticing absolutely necessary. Very much an up and down recovery!

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Hi kaytee,
He’s a very experienced surgeon. I’m sure he has alternatives for people who can’t take prednisone. Also, he’s just back from vacation. If you don’t hear anything by Monday, I’d email Kim again to follow-up.

I emailed Kim today. She hadn’t received my CT scan reports from the radiology lab. I will have to call the lab on Monday and nudge them along. Geez! I just want to get an idea where I am going with this. I so tired of my ear hurting and just being so incredibly tired.

I’m sorry things are poking along for you, kaytee!! Hopefully the radiology lab will get on the ball & send your scans to Dr. Samji’s. It’s time for you know what’s next!


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Right? I was hoping to get this resolved over the summer so I will feel better when I go back to work this fall.

Out of pure curiosity have you been able to put your CT scan through the 3D software? The info ok this site is amazing. That’s when things really came to life for me!

Hi Jon, I didn’t want to put my CT image through a 3D slicer because I don’t want to use up space on my computer, but this is the image of the styloids. Scary, huh?

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Definitely pretty impressive! Sure hope you get some relief soon!

Sort of looks like fangs or antennae to me. I can’t believe it.

It is freaky when you think of those things growing in your neck! I hope that you can get some treatment soon!