Risks of Neck Surgery: What Do You Need to Know Before Neck Surgery?

Risks of Neck Surgery

Neck surgery is usually considered if the patient has experienced an injury or has other serious health issues that can include narrow blood vessels, thyroid problems or severe osteoarthritis. Neck surgery is a concern when it comes to treating neck pain because there are many fragile structures in the neck that, when damaged, can lead to severe complications. While choosing a highly skilled surgeon is important, the chance of ending up with serious complications is always a risk with neck surgery.

Dysfunctional Problems

One of the most significant risks facing patients who have neck surgery is the risk of dysfunction's that can include sexual problems (loss of sex drive, etc.) and bladder and bowel problems that cause you to need to go more frequently than you did prior to surgery, or may lead to a loss of control all together.

Medical Complications

Medical complications of neck surgery involving the spinal cord include stroke, blood clots, a heart attack, or in some cases even death during surgery.

Abnormal Bleeding

Excessive bleeding is a risk during neck surgery and in some cases patients also experience abnormal bleeding after they're released from the hospital in which case they need medical care right away. In some cases the doctor will do a transfusion to decrease the chances of a more serious medical problem occurring, including death.


There is a potential danger of getting an infection at the site of the surgery, occurring when bacteria sets in and the body is unable fight it. The dangers brought on by infection will worsen if it's left untreated. A good sign that an infection has set in is when the body feels weak or you have trouble talking or walking.

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage is a problem that's also associated with neck surgery and there's no way for the surgeon to determine which patients are at greater risk of nerve damage. Nerve damage can cause more pain and in some cases a tingling or numb feeling in the treated area. If nerve damage occurs, the surgeon will need to perform a second surgery in an attempt to fix the problem.


Cervical spinal fusion surgeries have the highest risk of causing spinal nerve damage (because of its proximity to the spinal cord) which can lead to pain, loss of sensation, weakness, loss of feeling and complete paralysis of the legs and arms. This is a risk because the surgeon is in proximity to the spinal cord, which increases the chances of injury to the spinal cord.

A Natural Alternative to Neck Surgery

Although there may be situations where neck surgery is required, surgery should always be a last resort. Upper cervical chiropractic is a sophisticated procedure that specializes in spinal correction and the procedure has been quite successful at alleviating neck pain and restoring health naturally without the need for neck or back surgery.

The upper cervical chiropractic approach requires no popping, cracking or twisting of the spine is a very gentle and precise technique that very few chiropractors in the world have mastered. If you're dealing with cervical (neck) pain, consider consulting with an experienced chiropractor about upper cervical care; it's a viable option for relieving neck pain.


To find an upper cervical specialist in your area go to www.upcspine.com or if you are in the San Diego, California area to schedule your NUCCA evaluation, click here.

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Dr. Dan Spinato of the San Diego Integrative Spine Center in San Diego, California is a Rancho Penasquitos Chiropractor and an Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Over the past 30 years, Dr. Spinato has helped many people find natural relief in San Diego, California. His upper cervical clinic also serves the communities of Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Valley, Poway, Scripps Ranch and Rancho Bernardo. He is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraine headaches, chronic neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, allergy and sinus problems and temporomandibular joint disorders. More information can be found on his website at http://www.powaychiropractor.net/

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NUCCA Chiropractic Care

What is NUCCA
The National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) is an organization of Doctors of Chiropractic dedicated to patient care, education and research.

Spinal health care using the NUCCA procedures focuses on detecting and correcting a small misalignment in the upper neck area. Gentle, non-invasive adjustments don’t require any turning, twisting or popping.

Your upper cervical spine (neck) area influences all areas of your body. Injury or chronic misalignments can cause headaches, migraines, neck pain, low back pain, weakness and more.

The NUCCA technique is currently offered by less than 1% of all the Doctors of Chiropractic.

Before the NUCCA procedure can be performed, I will sit down with you and discuss your history and symptoms. If I determine that NUCCA can help, a thorough examination and x-rays will be done. A complete report of your findings and treatment options will be discussed. 

First adjustment
Precision x-rays are taken of the spine before any treatment begins. The adjustment is performed with the patient lying on their side and the doctor applying a very light pressure behind the earlobe. A full demonstration can be seen on the video above.

The NUCCA procedure can be summed up with 5 major distinctions as compared to traditional Chiropractic:

  • Gentle adjustment to the neck with no turning, twisting or popping.
  • Precision x-rays to measure before and after corrections.
  • Total body posture and balance improvement
  • Greater stability to the spine
  • Hold adjustments longer with fewer visits

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