When would I need an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)?
In between the bones of your neck are intervertebral discs, made of a gel-like substance, and surrounded by a thicker outer cover. This material allows the bones of the spine to move by creating a joint. If the thick outer cover tears, the inner gel like substance can squeeze out of the opening, similar to what would happen when you squeeze a jelly doughnut. This is what we call a herniated disc. This is usually associated with pain which may occur in the neck or back and may even go down your arm and we call this radiating, pain (Radiculopathy). If this occurs you may feel numbness, tingling, pain and even weakness in your arms or hands.
How is a minimally invasive anterior cervical discectomy and fusion performed?
An Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) procedure is a type of cervical spine surgery from the front (anterior) of the neck (cervical) that often successfully addresses spinal symptoms. ACDF surgery is a very common procedure relative to overall spine surgeries and has a long and studied record of positive outcomes. ACDF surgery consists of removing the damaged disc and then growing bone between the vertebrae above and below. ACDF procedures may be performed with the use of an implant, such as a plate, to provide support until fusion occurs.
Anterior approaches, such as in ACDF procedures, involve less muscle stripping from the spine and allow good access to the discs at the front of the spine compared to a back (posterior) approach. It provides the physician with a clear and uncomplicated approach to the cervical spine, and patients tend to have less incisional pain from this approach.