Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

What types of complications can occur with a surgery to remove some bone from the neck?

Answer:

If someone is going to have surgery on the vertebrae (bones) in the neck, he or she should have a frank discussion with the surgeon regarding any possible complications. Any type of surgery, no matter how small, has risks of some sort - neck surgery is no different. The types of complications that can happen will vary according to the type of surgery being done and how the surgeon approaches it. For example, if surgery is being done from an anterior approach, from the front, there is always a chance that body tissue in the throat, such as the esophagus may be nicked or damaged. When operating on the disk area and the vertebrae, there is always a chance of there being some nerve damage. Of course, there is also the general surgical complications that are possible, such as infection, bleeding, and pain, just to name a few. Mary R.A. Cunningham, MD, Stuart Hershman, MD, and John Bendo, MD. Systematic Review of Cohort Studies Comparing Surgical Treatments for Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy. In Spine. March 1, 2010. Vol. 35, No. 5. Pp. 537-543.

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