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Eagle Syndrome - Online Support Group

Is second surgery easier or harder? Scar tissue issues

Hi fellow Eaglets! Summer is just about over. I hope that you all got the most out of it possible.

A show of hands here please on those who have gone through the second surgery and found it harder the second time around. Any scar tissue causing problems?

I spoke with my surgeon sometime last month, 11 weeks post-op from left external removal, to discuss the right side removal. I told him about the nerve issues and complications from the first surgery. He did not seem surprised and reminded me that this is why he only does one side at a time. He agreed that I had a rough go of it.

Then…
He said that most have a harder time with the second surgery. What?! And that he would be careful again. What?!

On top of the complications, there is ball of scar tissue under my incision, which causes pulling and tightness in my neck and jawline. It is very uncomfortable and limits my range of motion. I have been doing PT on it everyday for almost one month with direction from a PT. The scar tissue is not responding. I am seeing the PT again this evening but wondering if anyone else has some ideas on what to do.

I know that I need to get the right side out but with all of the above noted I am afraid to have more complications and setbacks. The scar tissue pain and discomfort makes me feel unbalanced and unnatural (if that makes sense.) I don’t want both sides to be out of wack. I an not planning on doing the other surgery until January or February so maybe by then I will show more improvement.

Any insights would be welcome.

Peace,
BG

Hi BG!

I’m sorry your body has been so efficient in making extra scar tissue. How frustrating is that?!? I hope your PT work is able to break it up to some extent so you get full range of motion & dissipation of your pain.

As far as second surgeries go, I disagree w/ your surgeon. Many people have a much easier time immediately after surgery & a quicker recovery. There are those who have a more difficult time, of course, but for me, post op for round 2 was a breeze compared to round one & recovery was 2-3 weeks ahead of what I experienced after my first surgery. In my first surgery my glossopharyngeal nerve was wrapped around my styloid & had to be moved so the styloid could be shortened. It took nine months for that nerve to recover & for me to regain normal use of my tongue. I had no such complication w/ my second surgery & thus the ease of recovery. Hopefully you will have the same experience as I did. Your concern is justifiable based on your first experience, however.

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I know you’ve had a difficult time; we’re all different & heal differently, so it’s hard to generalise, but on the whole on here it does seem that most members find side 2 easier. I think usually people opt for the worst side 1st, maybe that makes a difference? Certainly my 2nd side was alot easier, I could chew straight away, turn my head with less pain, & could get back to normal quickly. The worst thing I had was the feeling of my face being a bit like concrete & my ear feeling totally blocked, which I hadn’t had 1st time, it turned out to be a nerve thing & got better after 2 weeks.
So I’d say in your case with the scar tissue you have already, it could irritate that, so your unlikely to have an easy ride of it, but try not to think too far ahead, you’ve been really strong once, so you can do it again! Best wishes…

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Thank you for the responses. I am balancing waiting for the next surgery and giving myself time to heal.

I sent an email to my surgeon about the tight scar tissue. The nurse finally got back to me to tell me the surgeon wants to see me in person. Now waiting for the scheduler to call me.

Peace,
BG

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Hi BG!

I can’t speak from personal experience with the second side - yet - but I do know that simply because you now know what to expect it will be easier as that fear factor is not present. It is the unknowing that is such a major obsticle and you are now an experienced ES warrior! You have the tools for success and a good understand of how your body responds, all bonus points in the recovery box. It won’t be the exact same journey but you won’t likely get blindsided if you know what I mean. Good luck, thinking of you!

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Ugh scar tissue issues…the main approach is what you have been doing, different types of soft tissue techniques. Cold laser is helpful for some but as mentioned before be sure to stay CLEAR of the thyroid and start with a low dose to see how it affects your vascular system. Definitely find an experienced practitioner, ask your current PT if they have it or know of anyone who does. It seems to be more commonly used in the chiropractic and veterinary world. Keep putting your hand on it several times a day…

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I’m glad your surgeon is being proactive about this, BG. Sorry you’ll have to be on the road again to see him. I hope there is an easy, painless solution.

:rose:

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Thank you for the knowledgeable and thoughtful response.
Having been through the first surgery it would make sense that the second would be easier in knowing what to expect. I had a rough go of it, with most of the post-op craziness gone and still dealing with scar tissue, but I am very glad that its done as most of the left side ES symptoms are gone, including the lightheadedness. “Fortunately” (LOL) the right is mostly burning and poking pain in my tongue and throat, with some sinus issues, and maybe my right eye pain can be attributed to ES.

I think it was you who steered me in the right direction on how to massage the incision. I also see a PT for cervical spine stenosis and he basically showed me the same massages. I will keep at it.

:kissing_smiling_eyes:
BG

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About 6 weeks to 2 months after the second surgery, you may find massaging to be more helpful. Right now, you have some muscle and brain resistance from the second side. I did n ot get much relief from the first side, and the second side took some time to feel better, but the first side progressed very well after the second side began to heal. 6 months after the second side, massaging and PT are progressing along well and still gaining improvements. We are all different. I expected second side to be easy, not so, but after 6 weeks everything started improving. One year now since first side and 6 months since second side.
I think my hubby might want me to slow down on Honey Do’s. We have a lot of stuff that needs to be done that was left undone for years. Still massaging and in PT. Those sternocleidomastoid muscles (SCM) and scalenes and scar tissue all need to release, but sometimes need persistance and time. My experience, anyway. My doc says up to 18 months. Feeling much better after 6 months with both gone. Prayers for you.

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Thank you for you input Emma. ES does damage and surgery has its own risks but having the surgery allows us to heal from this crazy roller coaster. Patience is key.

I wish you the best.
BG

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