The indication for operative treatment of serious injuries to the cervical spine is basically determinated by instability and dislocation. Timing of the operation is based on the neurological deficit. If there is a chance for recovery operative treatment is urgent. For the upper cervical spine defined indications are existing for type-2-fractures of the dens and C 2/C 3-instabilities of the hangman-type with major dislocation. Fractures of C 0 and C 1 are preferably treated by conservative methods. Only cases with compound injury patterns with a high degree of ligamentous instability may require dorsal fusion. For serious injuries of the lower cervical spine operative treatment is needed in most instances. Conservative treatment is only indicated if functional stability can be proofed and injuries to the discs and compression to the myelon are ruled out.