I’ve had them in the past, always presumed that they were lymph nodes as I used to get alot of earaches…don’t have them at the moment, not sure if they’ve gone since surgery, or if it’s a coincidence, but I don’t have as many earaches.
I had that exact same thing- in the exact same spot. I noticed it about twenty years ago or more and the docs never seemed concerned (even thought I always was). I now just attribute it to the ES. And after reading some of the replies here and your post, I guess that was probably it.
The parotid gland is in that area. It is supplied by the nervus glossopharyngeus, which is often impinged by the styloid. So no wonder if it is swollen/hard/inflamed? (Mine is.)
The parotid glands are often inflamed by ES & are sometimes irritated during ES surgery & other surgeries in that area of the neck. First Bite Syndrome is the common result post op.