Mar, 2018

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posted in Wilka, Welter & Ash LLP Law Blog.

Possible Complications After Neck Surgery

Possible Complications After Neck Surgery

The neck is the location of the cervical spine, so neck surgery usually involves this spinal region. Surgery is most often performed to treat an unstable cervical spine or a pinched nerve in the cervical spine. This surgery is performed in hopes of alleviating any numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness that the patient may be experiencing. Other goals of cervical spine surgery are to prevent or stop any motion in the cervical spine that is abnormal and to fully restore normal nerve function to any affected nerves.

This surgical procedure can cause complications and complications may occur as a result of this surgery, especially if mistakes are made by the healthcare staff. With an injury lawyer, Sioux Falls residents who might experience complications due to a surgical mistake can learn if they may have legal options.


Those undergoing neck surgery are at risk of having damage done to their spinal cord, vocal cords, nerves, carotid artery, or esophagus during the surgery. This complication does not happen often, but if it does it can cause serious problems. If the vocal cords are injured the patient may lose their ability to speak. If the esophagus is injured the patient may have difficulty swallowing. If the carotid artery is damaged the patient is at risk for severe bleeding. If the nerves or spine itself is injured the patient may become paralyzed or experience further and more severe pain.

Improper Healing

Many neck surgeries use hardware to correct any damage or injury to the cervical spine. This hardware includes plates, screws, and other similar items. In some patients these hardware items may not form properly into the vertebrae often leading to the need for an additional surgery. In some cases, this hardware can break as well. Another related complication is a non-healing spinal fusion. A fusion is a procedure in which two vertebrae are fused together. In some cases, this fusion will not stick often resulting in the need for an additional surgery.


Infection is always a risk when surgery is performed. This complication can affect any incisions made to perform the surgery. Patients who do not practice proper hygiene and wound care are at the highest risk for developing this complication. If an infection occurs, it can often be treated with antibiotics. However, if left untreated it can cause life-threatening problems including death.

Bone Graft Pain

Bone graft pain is a potential complication. In some cervical spine surgeries bone grafts (pieces of bone taken from other areas of the patient’s body or from a donor) are used to repair certain spinal abnormalities. Some patients will experience pain at the site of the bone graft after surgery and in some cases the pain can be intense. If pain occurs due to a bone graft an additional surgery may be required to try and eliminate the pain.

Now you know more about the possible complications that might occur with neck surgery. If any of these are associated with a medical mistake, you might consider talking to an injury lawyer in Sioux Falls.