An anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is a surgical procedure performed on the bones of the neck. It treats different conditions affecting the cervical spine, such as nerve pain, disc herniation, spinal tumor, and fracture.
If you have been diagnosed with one of these conditions and will be undergoing ACDF surgery, then you’re on the right page. Read on below to learn more about the surgery’s procedure, recovery time, risks, and more.
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat neck, arm, and back pain caused by a damaged intervertebral disc. It involves decompressing the spine by removing the damaged disc, then fusing the two healthy spinal bones together to create stability.
The procedure helps relieve the debilitating symptoms of neck problems, such as radiating neck pain, weakness, tingling, and numbness.
is the removal of the damaged cervical disc between two vertebral bones. The surgical approach is performed anteriorly, which means the surgeon will make a cut at the front of the neck.
after the disc removal, the surgeon will perform a bone graft or insert an artificial disc implant in place of the damaged one, then fuse it with the vertebral discs. This aims to create stability and strength in the cervical segment of the spine.
ACDF surgery is a complex procedure that should only be performed by a board-certified doctor who has undergone specialized training, such as an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon.
An anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery is an excellent treatment option for patients with pinched nerves due to worn-out spinal discs or bone spurs. It can also help treat a number of cervical spine problems, such as:
Cervical radiculopathy - a pinched or compressed nerve in the neck that causes moderate to severe pain that may radiate onto the back and arms.
Cervical spondylosis - age-related wear and tear that occurs in the bones, joints, and discs of the neck (cervical spine). It is also known as arthritis of the neck.
Cervical disc herniation - a progressive disorder caused by a ruptured disc, causing its gel-like center to come out and push into the nerves or compress the spinal cord inside the spinal canal.
the procedure may be used after the initial treatment of spinal infection or removal of a spinal tumor.
sometimes, a surgeon may opt to use ACDF surgery for rare cases of a cervical spine fracture.
All of these conditions cause numbness, weakness, and pain that can also affect the arms and legs. An ACDF procedure can help alleviate these symptoms instantly and may last for an extended period of time.
But before recommending the procedure, your physician would need to assess your health and evaluate your conditions first. If conservative treatment options cease to work, then that’s the time to consider an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.
The surgery starts with the patient lying on their back so that the surgeon can access the neck anteriorly. Then, an anesthesiologist will administer general anesthesia so the patient won’t feel anything during the procedure:
Generally, the whole procedure only takes one to two hours. However, it may take up to three hours or more for complex conditions or badly diseased discs. Patients can then go home after the procedure once the anesthesia wears off.
Most patients get relieved of their neck, arm, or back pain right after the surgery. However, it’s normal to feel pain in the shoulder blades, experience a sore throat, and have difficulty swallowing. These are just temporary post-operative symptoms, which will go away after a few days. Here are some tips you can keep in mind once you go home:
Full recovery may take at least two to six months or longer, depending on how severe your cervical problem is.
The Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek is one of the leading outpatient surgery center in Cary that provides superior patient care and services. Our board-certified physicians specialize in performing complex procedures using state-of-the-art techniques and equipment.
Contact us now to learn more about the vast array of orthopedic services we provide.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.