As with all types of surgery, there is a risk of complications, and the likelihood of these will depend upon a number of individual factors. You should discuss your specific circumstances with your neurosurgeon. Whilst the majority of patients will not have any complications, there is a small risk of problems. In general the risks of surgery include, but are not limited to:
Stroke or haemorrhage or bleeding
Quadriplegia (paralysis of the arms and legs)
Meningitis (this may be due to infection, but is more commonly a chemical or ‘aseptic’ meningitis which settles with time and steroid medication)
Impaired speech (dysarthria)
Cognitive impairment (problems with your thinking)
Hydrocephalus (fluid build-up within the head necessitating a shunt)
Numbness of the skin around the scalp incision
Headaches (these usually settle after a couple of weeks following surgery, but may last longer)
Cosmetic issues (your scar will extend a few cm below your hairline)
The main aim of surgery is to prevent ongoing deterioration and pain.
Most patients (around 80%) experience a significant improvement in their headaches and/or neck pain after surgery.
Recovery can be different for different patients.
You can gently wash your hair around two weeks after surgery. It is recommended that you use a gentle shampoo for this. It is advised that you avoid hair dyes and perms for a couple of months as these may irritate the incision.
You are advised to avoid flying for at least two weeks after your operation, due to the possibility that changes in cabin pressure may cause problems if you have some air left in your head after surgery. You must obtain clearance from your neurosurgeon before flying.
You can resume light work around the house and a gentle exercise program as soon as you feel fit. How quickly you can return to work will depend upon the nature of your job, and it is best to discuss this with your neurosurgeon.
your doctors may recommend some physical therapy and exercises to help you recover after surgery.
let me know if you have questions.