Surgery with Dr Hackman Nov 8th

I want to first say how thankful I am to all of my Eagles family. I wouldn’t of gotten to where I am if it wasn’t for you all. I had an appointment the end of September with Dr. Hackman. He was so nice and confident. I wasn’t sure what to expect but he said here is what I can do for you. He pulled up my CT and said my styloids were measuring 4.2 on left and 4.0 on right with fractures on both sides,calcification bil. Said it was my decision whether I had both done at the same time or start with the left side since it’s more symptomatic. Im going with bil styloidectomy. Of course Im extremely nervous and can only pray I’ve made the right choice. I’ve read on here where there’s been members flying after the surgery which I have my flight scheduled for Friday the 12th so it will be day 4 after surgery. Again praying I can do it. I’ve read so many post and have cried and smiled at the same time. I wish you all the best and Thank you again for all the information and updates of what to expect.Will keep you updated and if there is anything I can do to help anyone else in this situation I would be more than happy to do so. :heart:


Happy day, Stella! You are in the best hands with Dr. Hackman. I did not fly after surgery, but rode in the car for 2 days back to central Florida. Spent one night in the hospital, one night in the hotel, and took off for Florida on the third day after surgery. I was worried about the bumpy roads in South Carolina, but actually found the trip home easier than the trip up. Pain medication and steroids did the trick. Dr. Hackman uses a very strong glue to close the skin over the incisions, and discharged me with instructions to take a shower when I got back to the hotel. So I was able to be out and about with very little evidence of surgery and no worries about washing my hair. You may need some small round band-aids to cover the holes left by drain tubes behind the ears because they weep a bit for a few days. Depends on how he goes in - my incisions were in front of my ears. I brought soft ice packs - 3 - to rotate for the trip. If you ask the nurses in PACU they will bring you ice packs right after surgery. Be prepared to ask for pain medication - my major complaint with the aftercare was the need to ask for pain relief. Otherwise, the hospital is nice and nurses were good.


Aww thank you Catmd for the advice. So glad everything went well for you ! Did he give you steroids to take by mouth? Did you have trouble swallowing after the surgery? I have a back up plan for my niece to drive to NC to pick me up and drive me back to Indy if I don’t think I can handle the flight. Did he send you hm with pain meds ? Thanks again for your reply :blush:

Hi Stella,

Thank you for letting us know about your upcoming surgery date!! I’m so glad you’ll be able to put ES behind you before long!

I think some of the best advice I’ve read on our forum regarding flying home is - upgrade your seat to business or first class if you can afford it. This gives you more reclining space & leg room which will help you be more comfy. You most likely won’t be able to take gel ice packs on the plane, but you can contact the airline & ask about this. In the past, some would allow it if they were frozen when you entered the plane. If not, the flight attendants are good about bringing ice as you need it. Make sure to carry some sandwich sized Ziplock type bags to put the ice in.

An additional help for some of our members has been to ask for a wheelchair when checking in or perhaps requesting it online if you check in that way. Not having to walk a long distance to your gate will help your body be less stressed for the flight, & that in turn should help keep your pain level lower.

You may also want to request a course of Prednisone from Dr. Hackman. He doesn’t routinely Rx it post op, so some of our members have requested it to help w/ swelling. In some cases he uses a “neck bra” to help control post op swelling when he does bilateral surgery, but that scenario isn’t consistent.

I’ll put your surgery date on my calendar & will be praying for you.

:sunflower: :hugs:

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Than you Isaiah ! I appreciate your advice so much. I’m definitely a nervous Nellie so all advice is great… And thank you for your prayers! This site has been the best thing ever for me and want you and everyone else to know I’m so thankful. It’s so reassuring to hear from people that know what I’m going through. My family and friends have been here for me but I know they have no idea what we go through to get to this point of a surgery date. I will definitely ask for prednisone for a back up.


So pleased that you have a surgery date…not too long away, I’ll be thinking of you, & will pray for you! :grinning:

Thank you Jules :blush:

I had no trouble swallowing. A few days of not being able to open my mouth completely, so softer food was necessary. They gave IV steroids while I was in the hospital - 4 doses - which really helped. They sent me home with the typical steroid pack to ween down slowly. Sending an email with further details.

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Congrats on your upcoming surgery! I just had mine four days ago and I didn’t have to travel, but in addition to Isaiah’s advice I’d recommend compression stockings to wear on the plane. The hospital where I had surgery actually put some on me before my surgery and told me to leave them on for as long as I could tolerate but with flying I could see them being even bigger help. Good luck!!


Thank you for all the information ! It’s crazy that you have to be on the nurses about pain meds but I know Drs are super strict now days. On the other hand we are also told to stay ahead of pts pain . Seems like a catch 20-20 … Being a nurse for 20 yrs I thought would help navigate through all of this but I find myself questioning everything I know. I’m so glad you told me about the airport not having urber drivers bc that’s what I was planning on. I’ll see if I can go ahead and reserve a car. I will have someone with me to drive me back to the airport. I’m so happy to hear you did so well,and was able to get back outside and pull weeds. As odd as it may sound I miss being able to do that. I love me some yard Wk and haven’t been able to do that this summer. So thank you for the positive vibes. Truly appreciated ! It does help my anxiety to hear the good out comes of such a major surgery :peace_symbol:


Thank you Blossom! Take every bit of advice to heart! How are you feeling?


I’m feeling ok considering! I had surgery Wednesday and Saturday was my hardest day so far. I’m still needing prescription pain pills and I had some issues with nausea yesterday so that might also be something you ask the surgeon about managing post surgery. I think it was either anesthesia remnants or pain pills that were upsetting my stomach. Never did throw up thankfully I just felt sick. I’d also recommend a reusable straw or tumbler cup with straw because tilting my head back to drink kind of hurts. Also Extra pillows and ice packs and cold drinks. Ive been fairly ok walking and moving around, just turning my head is a bit painful. I’ll be rooting for you and your upcoming surgery! I’m sure it’ll go great.

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I’m glad you haven’t thrown up ! I can’t imagine how that would feel after this kind of surgery. Thank you again for all your information. Hope your healing continues in the right direction and will keep you in my prayers.

Hey Stella,

I’m from Fort Worth, TX, and I think I can help ease any worries you might have about your upcoming surgery. I received my bilateral styloidectomy with Dr. Hackman less than a week ago on Wednesday (Oct 13th) and it was without a doubt the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. The first night is a little rough, but nothing terrible, my throat was raw from the tubes and the taste of anesthesia made me so nauseous but the staff at UNC is amazing and took care of everything during observation. This man has perfected this surgery, after observation clearance I was able to go to lunch and enjoy time with my mother who traveled(flew) with me. We stayed an extra night at the hotel after observation and flew back Friday. I was worried during take off that my ears were going to explode or rupture but it went perfectly with minor hints of pain and more yawn popping was needed than I regularly need. Since I’ve arrived back home my life has literally felt AMAZING, going on walks and haven’t been on pain meds (I didn’t have to request pain meds, that stinks that you did but seems they’ve fixed that issue @Catmd) since Saturday. Ive got swelling still of course in my neck and ears but I feel 100x’s better than I have in the past 6 years. Ive got a crazy long list of symptoms that have disappeared already and minor pain lingering. I had minor first bite for like the first 36hrs and opening my jaw was tough. YOU’RE GOING TO BE SO HAPPY SOON… I had no clue how bad these were actually destroying my life, we become numb and used to our symptoms. I know I’ve got years left of unknown benefits to come as the swelling disappears and nerves get a chance to heal. I still feel like this is all a dream.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my rambling, just like you I was searching “hackman” and my symptoms every single day leading up to this. Id like to use this time to thank @Isaiah_40_31 & @Jules for everything that they do for this community, you are both amazing. THANK YOU BOTH SO MUCH!!! :heart: :heart:

I’ve attached pictures, this was less than 24hrs post op and my gnarly styloids.

Ask me anything!!!


Wow @Birdman those are big styloids! And your incisions look great, can’t believe it was only a week ago! So pleased that you’re feeling loads better already, that’s really encouraging for others to hear, make sure you don’t overdo it too much though it’s early days yet!
Glad that you found the site helpful :smiley:


Birdman - Your comment about having no clue how bad your symptoms were really hits home with me. I had constant neck and shoulder pain (for years), which is now gone post-surgery. I did not expect that at all, just thought those issues were totally unrelated to styloids. I thought my miraculous recovery was due to the steroids, but 3 months after surgery I still have no pain. My neck now moves freely - I can look over my shoulder without falling down and look down without starting to faint. Glad you didn’t experience their experiment with pain medication. The pre-op team gave me a big dose of Lyrica before surgery and told me that they were experimenting with different medication to see if they could find an alternative to opioids. So, the experiment must have included making the patients ask for pain meds - hadn’t really thought about that before.


Thank you for your update, Birdman! What a great outcome you’ve had. Your incisions look totally awesome for being only a week out from surgery. Your styloids are definitely impressive! As Jules said, take it easy even if you feel good. Too much activity too soon will cause old symptoms to flare while you’re in these early recovery weeks.

I really appreciate your thorough update. Please let us know how your recovery progresses. :hugs:


Hello there Birdman ! I can’t believe how well your incisions look ! Very impressive… Thank you so much for your update. Makes me feel like making the decision to have the surgery definitely the right choice. I’m so happy for you ! I pray I get along as well as you . You all are such nice and caring people on this forum. I feel extremely grateful to have found you all . Keep me updated on how you’re feeling. Positive vibes your way :blush:


I’m glad you found Dr. Hackman. I had bilateral styloid process removal as well as my right thyroid out with him on Nov 2019. I can not say enough about him. He is just so talented. He is the only ES surgeon I know that is also trained in vascular. I know of one that does vascular but he has another vascular surgeon work with him. Not that j is a a bad thing. I know it easier said than done but try not to worry so much. If it is any help it was much easier than I anticipated. Not that it was a piece of cake. I went home on the same day and only took one pain killer. The worse for me was the head pressure you have after surgery until you hea. Most people use a wedge pillow. My boys got me a bed that raised which helped a lot. I don’t know if you could rent one with covid or not. I hope you get a lot of relief and you find it easier than you anticipate. I’ll be praying for you. Take care!


This may be an obvious one, but I had never had surgery and I don’t know that I would have thought of it if traveling, Dr Hackman had me rotating between Tylenol and Oxy in the hospital and gave me discharge instructions to continue that rotation for up to five days. I stopped taking Oxy by day three and was just on Tylenol on day four, so you may want to be sure to pack otc meds to l cover you through your trip home.