Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

With so many risks involved with neck surgery, is it really worth it to go under the knife if your problem isn't life threatening?

Answer:

Severe pain in the neck or upper back, or immobility, can make it tough to live life normally. The pain can interrupt sleep, making you feel fatigued and subject to becoming ill. Fatigue can leave to sleepiness, which can cause fatal accidents. Pain also makes it so people can't work, go out, or even take care of themselves. If pain is having such an effect on a life, it may be that surgery - despite risks - is the only option. All surgery has risks. Back and neck surgery have the added risk of there being potential problems with the nerves in the spinal column. However, it's very important to understand that the risks of developing a complication are very low, mostly less than 1 percent of patients will experience them. Alan H. Daniels, MD, et al. Adverse Events Associated with Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery. In Journal of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. December 2008. Vol. 16. No. 12. Pp. 729-738.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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