An anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a surgical procedure used to treat spinal cord compression by decompressing the nerve roots and spinal cord at the cervical spine discetomy. This procedures stabilizes the attached vertebrae. ACDF is used when other non-surgical treatments were not successful.
Who is a candidate for ACDF?
If you have a herniated or degenerative cervical disc that is not healing with other treatments, having an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) may be a treatment option to consider. Prime candidates for this surgery are those who have had diagnostic tests that confirm a herniated or degenerative disc. Other candidates can include people who experience significant pain and weakness in their hand or arm or symptoms that have not improved with medication and/or therapy.
An orthopedic surgeon will thoroughly explain the procedure at your consultation if you are a candidate. Your surgeon will discuss with you the particulars of your condition and how you may benefit from the ACDF procedure.
What to expect during an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery
During the ACDF procedure, an incision is made in the throat access the front of the spine. The disc is then removed and a graft is inserted which fuses together the bones above and below the disc. Since the neck muscles, spinal column, and spinal nerves are not disturbed, post-op pain is decreased and providing for faster recovery. The natural healing process allows for fusion to be complete within a few months.
Recovery and pain management
This procedure usually takes one to two hours to complete. You will be asleep under general anesthesia for the surgery and monitored during the procedure as well as during recovery. We will make sure you are comfortable before discharging you to recover in the comfort of your own home.
Pain is managed with limited narcotic medication. You might experience hoarseness or a sore throat. These symptoms usually clear up after a few days to a week or two.
If you believe you may be a candidate for ACDF surgery, contact us for a consultation with one of our surgeons.