Potential complications from neck surgery are hemorrhage, wound infection and a failure of the bones to fuse properly, according to Spine-Health. A wound hematoma, or a blood clot, might also form.
Other complications of neck surgery are injury to the arteries in the area which can cause a bleed out and possible death, says Spine-Health. The laryngeal nerves can be injured, which can result in difficulty in swallowing or hoarseness. The trachea or esophagus might also be damaged during neck surgery. This can lead to infection. The dura, the tough covering over the spinal cord, might also be damaged. This leads to a leak in the cerebrospinal fluid or an area of the fluid beneath the surgical wound, called a pseudomeningocele.
Any screws, grafts or plates can break, be pulled out or migrate, according to Spine-health. The spinal cord itself can be damaged, which can lead to loss of sensation, paralysis, incontinence and weakness.
Even cosmetic neck lift surgery has risks, according to MedicineNet. There is the risk of infection, which presents as a fever and a discharge from the surgical wound. Infection requires prompt medical attention. The patient might also be allergic to the anesthesia, which is why the patient and the doctor should discuss drug allergies before the operation takes place.