ACDF Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion
What is ACDF? (Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion)
Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion surgery is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove a herniated or ruptured disc in the neck. This surgical procedure may relieve spinal cord or nerve root pressure and alleviate corresponding pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling. A cervical disc herniation can be removed through an anterior approach (through the front of the neck) to relieve spinal cord or nerve root pressure and alleviate corresponding pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling.
Who Is The Ideal Candidate?
You may be a candidate for this surgery if:
- Diagnostic tests show that you have a herniated or degenerative disc
- You have significant weakness in your arm or hand
- Arm pain is worse than neck pain
- Your symptoms have not digressed with physical therapy or medication
Luckily, only very few people who have a herniated disc are in enough pain to consider surgery. A lot of times, the pain will decrease with time and your herniated disc should heal after a couple of months if you decide against surgery. A neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon will perform your surgery. These specialized doctors at Florida Surgery Consultants have training tailored specifically to the spine and other parts of the nervous system, but if you are feeling hesitant, your doctor will be more than happy to tell you about the training and qualifications they have.
What Are The Risks?
Any time a surgery is performed, there are risks involved and this is inevitable. A few risks that are specific to Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion:
- Swallowing difficulties
- Vertebrae failing to fuse
- Bone graft migration
- Nerve damage
Although there are risks to this surgery, if you are experiencing intense pain, it may be worth it. A surgical option is the decision of the patient, but take note that our trained medical professionals will not recommend surgery unless they feel that it is absolutely necessary.
In preparation for the procedure, you are positioned on your back. You are anesthetized. The surgeon creates a small incision in the front of your neck. The structures within your neck are gently moved aside to create a path to your spine. The surgeon carefully removes the damaged disc. This leaves a space between the vertebrae.
The surgeon inserts a bone graft into this space. The graft may be made from a piece of bone taken from your hip. It can also be made from donor bone, or from a synthetic material. The graft fills the open space. It holds the vertebrae in the proper position. The surgeon may secure the graft with a metal plate and screws.
End of Procedure
When the procedure is complete, the incision is closed. As your spine heals, new bone will grow. The graft will become permanently attached to the vertebrae. This is called a “fusion.”