ZocdocAnswersWill my mom ever be able to turn her head again?

Question

Will my mom ever be able to turn her head again?

Will my mom ever be able to turn her head again? She has 2 titanium bars drilled from her shoulders to the back of her skull. We were hit by a drunk driver in 2004. She went through the windsheild head first and broke her neck. She can't turn her head at all. Can't look up. She can't even yawn. Her head is stuck in one position. Is there that can be done like cadaver bones or flexible titanium ? I hate to see her cry because she's not normal like every one else.

Answer

I am very sorry to hear about the horrible accident that you and your mother had. I am grateful that you are both alive! Unfortunately, it sounds like your mother suffered very serious trauma to her neck and spine. Sometimes, when this happens, the only solution is to fuse all of the bones together and stabilize them with titanium bars, as was done. This is because the priority here is to protect the spinal cord and prevent permanent paralysis or even death. Fortunately, this procedure was successful in your mother's case. However, she will never regain the lost mobility. Currently there is no technology that would restore the normal flexibility of her spine. This doesn't mean that your mother shouldn't have regular followup for her condition. In particular after an accident like this there can often be significant chronic pain, and this is a condition that should be aggressively managed to improve her quality of life as much as possible. She should have regular visits with her primary care doctor for these issues, and she might also benefit from seeing her orthopedic or spine doctor from time to time. Good luck to you both!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.