What are the possible complications of C2 fracture treatment?

Updated: Sep 28, 2020
  • Author: Igor Boyarsky, DO, FACEP, FAAEM; Chief Editor: Jeffrey A Goldstein, MD  more...
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Complications of C2 fracture treatment include nonunion, malunion, pseudoarthrosis formation, infection, neurovascular injury, acute airway compromise, and hardware failure.

The risks of nonunion, malunion, and pseudoarthrosis formation are lessened with surgical treatment. [22]

As with any surgical procedure, risk of infection always exists. Osteomyelitis is a rare, but not unknown, complication. Some authors recommend the use of prophylactic antibiotics for up to 72 hours following surgery, and continuation if there is evidence of an infection.

Neurovascular injury is a risk associated with any surgical intervention and is a function of both surgical acumen and anatomic variability.

Airway compromise is a risk associated with any anterior surgical approach, and prolonged endotracheal intubation may be necessary.

Common hardware failures include screw bending and breaking, loosening of implants, and hardware failure secondary to osteoporotic bone.

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