Between June 1984 and April 1988, 41 patients with severe posttraumatic lesions of the cervical spine between the C2-C3 and the C7-T1 level seen consecutively were treated by an anterior cervical fusion and osteosynthetic stabilization according to Caspar. These patients were prospectively studied. Seven patients had a bilateral facet dislocation, 5 a unilateral facet dislocation, 9 an anterior subluxation, 9 an anterior compression fracture, 5 a hangman's fracture, and 6 a hyperextension injury at a lower cervical level. From a neurological point of view, there were 12 patients with an initial complete transverse lesion and 14 with an incomplete transverse lesion, and the remaining 15 patients did not have any deficit initially. Four patients died during the first 3 months after the operation. In 38 patients good anatomical position was obtained, generally by the intraoperative use of the vertebral distractor of Caspar. In all patients excellent immediate postoperative stability of the spine was obtained, although in 2 patients a second operation was necessary a few days after the first one. Postoperatively all patients were "immobilized" by a soft collar for 3 months. Four patients with an initial complete transverse lesion showed some neurological recovery in the postoperative period, and all patients with an incomplete transverse lesion improved. There were no postoperative neurological disturbances in the group of patients who were neurologically normal from the beginning. The mean postoperative hospitalization time was 13.6 days. These results were compared to the results from the literature, concerning other conservative and operative treatments for posttraumatic lesions of the cervical spine.