An Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) is one of the most common spinal operations performed for the treatment of disorders in the cervical spine (neck).
An ACDF is typically performed to treat a disc or bone spur that is compressing the spinal cord and/or spinal nerve roots within the spinal canal.
The surgery involves a small incision made on the front of the neck, typically placed in a native skin crease, making it difficult to notice once healed. Approaching the cervical spine from the front of the neck allows the patient to avoid the pain associated with going through the large neck muscles in the back of the cervical spine. As a result, there is typically only mild pain associated with this procedure.
Once the diseased or disrupted disc is visualized the abnormal disc and bone spurs are removed in order to alleviate the pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots. This is done to relieve associated arm pain, numbness and weakness. Following the removal of the ruptured disc a spacer is placed between the two vertebrae to restore the normal alignment of the spine. The body’s natural healing process will fill the spacer and its surrounding area with bone. A thin titanium plate is then inserted on the front surface of the bones to maintain stability and alignment.
- Once the surgery is complete the patient will spend a few hours in the surgical recovery area for monitoring.
- Many patients, especially those undergoing a 1- or 2-level surgery, go home the day of surgery; however, some may need to spend the night in the hospital for routine monitoring.
- A neck brace may be provided in certain instances to help support the neck.
All surgical patients at Comprehensive Spine Care are provided with medications prior to the date of surgery with instructions on their post-operative usage. Wound care, medication, and diet instructions for after surgery are also provided upon discharge from the hospital and are also available here.