Spinal fusion surgery options

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a type of minimally invasive spine surgery that can provide relief for the painful symptoms of many conditions affecting the cervical (upper) spine.

ACDF is considered a minimally invasive fusion procedure because the surgeon gains access to the spine through a small incision in the front of the neck, requiring less muscle disruption than an entry in the back of the neck. The surgeon uses a fluoroscope (X-ray) and microtools to see and remove disc material and then inserts a bone graft and a stabilizing titanium plate.

Pain relief is achieved because the removed disc material is no longer interfering with the nerves running through that part of the spine. The hardware is inserted to fill the empty space left by the removed disc material, therefore stabilizing the area. The goal is for the bone graft to eventually fuse the surrounding vertebrae together. This can be a highly effective treatment when chronic pain has taken you away from family, work and hobbies, and you have exhausted conservative treatments.

Degenerative spine conditions treated with ACDF

ACDF can be used to treat debilitating symptoms caused by the following degenerative spine conditions:

  • Bulging disc — the displacement of the outer wall of a spinal disc
  • Herniated disc — when the outer wall of a disc ruptures and fluid pushes out
  • Cervical myelomalacia — an abnormal softening of the upper spinal cord, often resulting from poor blood flow
  • Spondylolisthesis — vertebral slippage
  • Degenerative disc disease — breakdown of discs due to age and general wear and tear

The symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness caused by spinal nerve compression associated with these and other degenerative spine conditions can usually be managed with a course of nonsurgical treatment. You and your physician should be able to come up with a plan that works best for your situation. Surgery typically becomes an option only after several weeks or months of conservative treatment does not bring acceptable pain relief and a return to normal activity.

Cervical spine stabilization from the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery

To date, Laser Spine Institute has helped more than 75,000 patients get their life back from neck and back pain. Our team of highly skilled surgeons can perform ACDF surgery in an outpatient setting that emphasizes patient-centered care. Reach out to us today for a review of your MRI report and to learn more about the full range of our minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization options.