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My dad's post-op neck surgery recovery - got a few questions

Hi all.

My dad had a schwannoma in his neck removed last Thursday. He had a drainage device attached to the surgery site and he was okay for the days where it was there.

We went to see the surgeon who did the surgery for a followup and they removed that drainage device (looked kinda circular with a plastic tube that went into his neck's operative site). However, after we left the doctor, he started having pain from swallowing that radiated from the surgery site (left part of his neck) all the way up through his jaw and up to his head.

We saw the initial referring ENT to see what was up - the ENT says that my dad simply has to take it easy and that this kind of pain in normal. He recommended that my dad does jaw/face exercises (open his mouth wide a few times) to keep the area in "shape". But why did he only have the pain after they took out the drainage device? It only happens when he tries to swallow. Is there something my father should do to speed the recovery? The painkillers that my dad received aren't helping and the doctor said that that's all he can really do - time is the only function that can help with the healing.


  • Hi,

    I didn't have that kind of surgery, or a drainage device... but i did have an operation on my neck when they did my cervical fusion. After my op I was told it was to be expected to have problems swallowing for awhile after the op (including swallowing saliva) and, that it might affect singing... I had both problems after the op.... the swallowing for me improved gradually every day, and was better about 3 weeks after the op. My singing voice took ages.... thankfully i only sing for me!!! LOL. I have no idea why your dad's symptoms only kicked in after the drainage was removed... but when they operate on the neck area they "move" things around internally to get to where they need to get to for the op... at least thats how my doc explained it to me... Patience, using straws, and taking small bites/chewing well will help.

    hope he feels better soon!
    L4-L5 fusion 1998; ACDF C4-6 2008; DDD
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