Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF): ACDF is a type of neck surgery that involves removing a damaged disc to relieve spinal cord or nerve root pressure and alleviate corresponding pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling. A discectomy is a form of surgical decompression, so the procedure may also be called an anterior cervical decompression. It is an excellent operation for those with spinal cord compression, and those with arm pain due to bone spurs. For younger patients with arm pain however, a posterior cervical laminforaminotomy or an artificial disc (see below) may be better options. Intraoperative monitoring is usually performed (when cord compression is present) to confirm the integrity of the spinal pathways during surgery.
Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion (ACDF): fusion procedure where spine is accessed via front of the neck. Anterior cervical fusion is an operation performed on the upper spine to relieve pressure on one or more nerve roots, or on the spinal cord. The term is derived from the words anterior (front), cervical (neck), and fusion (joining the vertebrae with a bone graft).
What is an Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion (ACDF)?
Your healthcare professional may recommend an ACDF if you are suffering from disc herniation or degeneration in the upper part of the spine known as the cervical area. The Anterior Cervical Discectomy is a procedure that involves surgically entering the front (Anterior) of the neck (Cervical) and removing a damaged cervical disc (Discectomy). Implants of bone and/or metal are put in place of the damaged disc and act to fuse the two vertebra together.
Who needs this procedure?
If you have some of the following conditions or symptoms, you may be a candidate for an ACDF:
- Weakness in your hand or arm.
- Arm pain that is more severe than neck pain
- Numbness/weakness in arms and extremities
- Degenerative discs or herniated discs
- Other cervical symptoms that have failed to respond to medication or physical therapy
Your healthcare provider can review the exact symptoms and causes that apply to you and why you may be a candidate for the Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion.
After Surgery and Recovery
Recovery time is specific for each patient, but your surgeon will have a recovery plan to get you back to normal after the operation. Typically, patients are walking around by the end of the day, and able to return to work in 3-6 weeks, depending on how healed they are and the level of activity involved.