Every doctor on our list has his or her own opinion about what defines Eagle Syndrome, and every doctor has his or her own surgical strategy for treating it. Over time we have learned that there are some doctors who are more experienced than others in doing ES surgery, HOWEVER, that does not mean they are able to provide a perfect outcome for every patient. Even the most experienced surgeons may leave some calcification behind that later requires additional surgery so symptoms can be more completely eradicated. Though this may seem disreputable on a surgeon’s part, each surgeon has to decide during surgery how much calcification can be safely removed without causing permanent damage to nerves & other soft tissues in the area. The surgeons usually err on the side of caution, thus they may need to remove less calcification than intended rather than risking a permanently debilitating or disfiguring problem for the patient.
We have recently had several patients comment that their ES pain & symptoms either didn’t end after surgery or that those have returned. In some cases, not enough styloid was removed &/or a section of calcified ligament was left behind and that seems to be what causes the continued or new nerve pain/other symptoms. There are a few doctors who do revision surgery for ES so these patients are not without hope of more complete recovery.
It is vital when interviewing a doctor that you clearly understand his/her surgical approach & the extent to which (s)he will remove elongated styloids and/or calcified stylohyoid ligaments. The best case scenario is for all calcification to be extracted from skull base to hyoid bone if possible - remembering that even though that may be the surgeon’s goal, your physical construct may prevent his/her ability to fully & safely execute that plan.
Many of our forum members have had great surgical experiences but others have not. Those who have done well tend to leave this forum and go on w/ their lives. Those who remain are the people who are awaiting surgery or are struggling with post op symptoms, and that skews the way our forum appears, in some respect, by making it seem like surgery isn’t very helpful. Regardless of your situation, we are here for you, to listen, encourage, support, and pray for you. We all understand how difficult & life changing ES symptoms can be. As your moderators, we have been there.
Isaiah_40_31 and Jules