The number of surgical interventions for spinal diseases has greatly increased due to rapid improvements in surgical techniques. The close anatomical relationship between neural and bony structures and the various anatomical approaches to the spinal column lead to a large variety of possible surgical complications. Therefore, it seems helpful to differentiate the complications with respect to their origin. An incorrect positioning of the patient can result in palsy or even blindness. Surgical access to the spine depends on the pathology and the surgical target. Typical complications can be explained by the anatomical situation, such as the vicinity of the esophagus in the anterior approach to the cervical spine or the great vessels in anterior procedures to the lumbar spine. Complication during the surgical manipulation of the spine can be related to either decompression procedures of neural structures or spinal implants. The correction of spinal deformities can result in very specific complications.