Infection, bleeding, CSF leak, neurological damage including paralysis, stroke, no improvement of symptoms, death in cases of cervical cord injuries or injury of the vertebral arteries which supply the brain stem, failure of inserted metal work requiring further surgery. The very serious risks are small in experienced hands but nevertheless real.
2-3 days after operation in majority of cases.
Always general anaesthesia
The neck might feel sore for a short time. A collar is not routinely necessary if x-rays after the operation are satisfactory.
Commonly asked questions
How much will the operation effect my neck movements?
It is important to know that fusing C1 and C2 will lead to a significant reduction in the ability to rotate the head and look to the sides. This is because most of the rotation movement in the neck is between these two vertebrae. Bending the neck forwards and backwards is, however, little effected because this movement largely happens between the skull and C1.