Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF)

The intervertebral discs of the cervical spine sit between adjacent vertebrae. Their main functions are (1) absorb the load placed on the vertebrae and (2) preserve neck anatomy. A cervical disc herniation occurs when a disc herniates and protrudes into the spinal canal. Many times, a herniated disc can compress the spinal cord and cause neck pain, arm pain, weakness, and impaired ability to perform fine motor movements with the hand. An anterior cervical discectomy is a minimally invasive spine surgery that can be used to treat a herniated disc that does not respond to non-surgical treatment. The experience and skills of the spine specialists at Hope Orthopedics are used to provide patients with maximum and long-lasting or permanent ACDF results.

An ACDF at Hope Orthopedics

An ACDF may be performed as an outpatient or inpatient procedure. Patients who have the procedure will know beforehand if they will need to stay in the hospital overnight. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia that is administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist. The steps used to perform the procedure are the following:

  • Incision. A tiny incision is made on the front of the neck.
  • Exposure. Microscopic visualization and instruments are used to move soft tissues so the herniated disc can be seen.
  • Discectomy. The portion of the disc that is compressing the spinal cord is removed.
  • Fusion. Bone graft is packed into space between adjacent vertebrae. Rods and screws are used to hold adjacent vertebrae in place.

Special sutures are used to close the incision. Sterile dressings and a Band-Aid are placed over the incision. A neck brace is placed on the patient to immobilize the neck while it heals.

ACDF Recovery

The anterior incision and minimally invasive techniques used to perform the procedure damage very little neck muscles and soft tissues. This provides patients with following benefits:

  • Less post surgical pain is experienced
  • Recovery time is significantly shortened
  • A less noticeable scar forms

Patients will be monitored throughout their recovery process to make sure bone formation is taking place and the vertebrae are fusing to form a single solid bone. Physical therapy is used to help patients increase strength and flexibility. Recovery time can vary. Patients who have their procedure performed by one of the specialists at Hope Orthopedics will know every step in the recovery process and about how long it will take for a complete recovery.

ACDF Outcomes

Patients experience significant symptom improvement or symptom elimination after their procedure. Neck pain, arm pain, and weakness that used to cause tremendous problems are no longer issues. Fine motor control of the hand is regained. Patients who follow the instructions of their orthopedic specialist and physical therapist can look forward to maximum results that help them live a much happier life.