Chronic neck pain after cervical fusion. The most common cause of ongoing neck pain after cervical fusion surgery is inadequate decompression of a pinched nerve during the initial procedure.
If the spinal nerve is fully or partially compressed, you will experience chronic neck pain and symptoms afterward. Because of the potential for spinal compression to cause damage to other parts of the body, you should avoid vigorous activity, such as sports or lifting weights or high-stress tasks, until your doctor approves any additional spinal decompression.
Other possible complications include:
Arterial tamponade, which may progress to severe stenosis
Tibial artery occlusion, which can lead to death
Risk factors for chronic neck pain after fusion surgery
Factors that may increase your risk of developing chronic neck pain after cervical fusion surgery include:
Severe disease or injuries to the lower or upper lumbar and cervical regions.
Use of spinal decompressions to relieve symptoms of cervical pain.
Posterior cervical ligament injuries.
Hormonal changes, such as menopause or menopause associated with menopause or the use of birth control pills.
Complications after cervical fusion surgery
Cervical fusion surgery is a difficult surgery, and complications are common after surgery. Some of the most common complications are:
Arterial tamponade (which is sometimes referred to as an A-T or A-TS), which may progress to a condition known as meniscal stenosis. Arterial tamponade is an uncommon complication of cervical fusion surgery, and it is not considered to be a significant risk factor for death.
Tibial artery occlusion
Traumatic damage to the fibula can result in this condition, called a partial lumbar artery stenosis. This can cause painful and persistent headache.
Tibial artery dissection
The dissection of the fibula can lead to other complications, including the following:
In women who have diabetes, this condition is the most common complication of surgical procedures and is an uncommon cause of death. It is rare that this complication will result in death.
Anterior cervical dissection, which is caused by fusion surgery of the lower lumbar vertebrae. This dissection can cause discomfort and permanent deformities.
Chronic pain and neck stiffness
Symptoms of chronic neck pain after cervical fusion surgery may be associated with painful, persistent neck pain or tenderness in the neck area. Chronic pain or neck stiffness may be caused by a condition called chronic neck pain syndrome. The condition is a common cause of pain and neck stiffness in women who have experienced cervical fusion surgery.
If you have a history of chronic neck pain or neck stiffness following cervical fusion surgery, your doctor may recommend:
A spinal MRI examination to evaluate your neck and evaluate any condition that may have contributed to the cervical fusion.
A radiological examination of the neck and spine. This examination may identify possible complications related to the cervical fusion, as well as abnormal vertebral structures.
Complications of cervical fusion surgery
While some complications are extremely rare and do not have a significant impact on a woman’s quality of life, other complications are more likely to occur. These complications include:
Arterial tamponade (which can progress to a condition called a partial lumbar artery stenosis or a partial meniscus dissection). Arterial tamponade is an uncommon complication of cervical fusion surgery and is not a major risk factor for death. Arterial tamponade is an important finding that can rule out the presence of spinal compression or a lumbar disk aneurysm.
A dissection of the spinal cord may occur after cervical fusion surgery. This condition is a rare complication, which may progress to spinal cord compression.
Risk factors for cervical dissection after cervical fusion surgery
Factors that may increase your risk of cervical dissection after cervical fusion surgery include:
Possible prior complications of cervical fusion surgery, such as a history of trauma to the cervical region.
Posterior cervical ligament injuries
If the prior cervical disk rupture is not seen, a posterior ligament injury may occur, which is usually not a significant risk factor for death.
Conditions that may predispose you to cervical dissection after cervical fusion surgery. These conditions include:
Conditions that may predispose you to cervical dissection after cervical fusion surgery include:
Mental health disorders, including depression
A history of depression during cervical fusion surgery may cause you to feel depressed during your recovery and may affect your ability to complete daily activities.
Analgesic medications that may increase the risks of cervical dissection include:
Antidepressant medications, such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs, such as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), are commonly used to relieve symptoms of cervical and lower-limboding headaches. When used in addition to SSRIs, these medications may increase your risk of cervical dissection.