ACDF neck surgery

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) neck surgery is a traditional open neck fusion that removes a degenerative disc from the cervical spine (neck) and fuses together the two surrounding vertebrae to stabilize the spine. This surgery is used to treat severe spine conditions that involve damaged discs, such as a herniated disc or bulging disc.

If you have been diagnosed with a damaged disc in the cervical spine, you may be recommended to have cervical fusion if months of conservative treatments do not provide any lasting pain relief. While the decision of spinal fusion can sometimes be overwhelming, you should be aware of alternative surgical treatment options that are safer and more effective than traditional open neck fusion.

As you research the minimally invasive cervical fusion procedure at Laser Spine Institute, please reach out to our Care Team with any questions about your condition or the treatment options available to you. Our minimally invasive cervical fusion surgery is designed to help relieve your pain with a shorter recovery time* than traditional open back surgery.

Definition of ACDF surgery

A better understanding of ACDF neck surgery requires a closer look at the title of the procedure. Anterior refers to the front of the neck; cervical indicates the procedure is conducted in the cervical spine segment (which is the upper spine that supports the head and neck); discectomy indicates the disc will be removed surgically; and fusion means that the affected vertebrae will be fused together.

Therefore, an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is a procedure in which the surgeon will access the cervical spine through the front of the neck, remove the damaged disc that is causing you pain, and fuse together the surrounding vertebrae to stabilize the spine.

The procedure

During this highly invasive traditional open neck procedure, a large incision is made in the front of the neck to access the spine. The deteriorated disc is then identified and entirely removed to decompress the local nerves or spinal cord. The surgeon then installs a bone graft between the affected vertebrae to facilitate bone growth and stabilize the area. The graft can take three forms:

  • Autograft — Comes from the patient, typically the hip bone
  • Allograft — Harvested from a donor
  • Cages — Hollow device packed with bone shavings

Finally, the surgeon will install metal plates, rods or screws to stabilize the spine while the vertebrae grow around the graft.

An alternative treatment with safer and more effective results

Minimally invasive neck surgery is a compelling alternative to ACDF neck surgery because it requires no grafts or implants and is performed with only a small incision.

Our minimally invasive stabilization surgery at Laser Spine Institute treats severely damaged discs in the neck by removing the damaged disc and replacing it with an artificial disc to stabilize the spine. This procedure is performed through a small incision. The minimally invasive approach to cervical fusion allows our patients to experience better results and a shorter recovery time* than patients who choose to undergo traditional open neck procedures.

To learn more about minimally invasive procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today.