Anterior cervical discectomy fusion (ACDF) recovery

An anterior cervical discectomy fusion (ACDF) performed at Laser Spine Institute is a safer and effective alternative to a highly invasive traditional open neck fusion.^ Its focus is to relieve the neck pain, weakness and tingling associated with a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease. If you are a candidate for an ACDF procedure, the highly skilled surgeons at our state-of-the-art facilities can remove your damaged disc and insert implants to help stabilize your spine.

The recovery process following this minimally invasive stabilization surgery is shorter compared to a traditional open spine fusion.^ However, it is important that you do not try to overexert yourself in the weeks and months following surgery. Listen to your body, immediately stop any activities causing you severe pain and stay in contact with your physician so he or she can stay informed on your rehabilitation. Read on to learn more about the ACDF recovery process.

What to expect after an ACDF procedure

Although you should avoid overexertion following minimally invasive stabilization surgery, becoming sedentary can also hurt the recovery process. While certain amounts of rest are needed, it is important to begin taking short walks in the first few days after your procedure. Begin with five to 10 minutes of easy walking several times each day.

By the sixth or seventh week after your cervical spine procedure, you should be able to walk about two miles without experiencing pain. It is extremely important that you do not do any heavy lifting for about three months following your surgery, and, even then, do so only with a physician’s consent. Up to week 12 after surgery, only lift up to 25 pounds as tolerated.

You can experience some discomfort as you become active again after a cervical spine surgery. Commonly experienced symptoms include:

  • Discomfort, tightness or mild muscle spasms in your neck and upper back
  • Pain, soreness or mild swelling around the incision site
  • Periods of tingling or numbness in your neck, shoulders, arms or hands
  • Pain while switching positions, such as moving from a seated to a standing position

This discomfort should lessen over time and may take up to six months for your body to become fully healed. Patients who have light office work can normally return to work within two to four weeks and patients with physically strenuous jobs should wait six to 12 weeks, depending on the job and type of procedure performed.

Where to turn for questions

Should you have any questions regarding your recovery process following minimally invasive ACDF surgery on your neck, please feel free to contact Laser Spine Institute. Our dedicated team is here to make sure that you are fully informed about the steps to take during your recovery. We will follow up with you to ensure comfort, satisfaction and surgical success at two, six and 12 weeks post-surgery.

In the event that you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease and are interested in learning if our procedures would be effective for you, reach out to our team today and ask for a free MRI review.* Our ACDF procedure can help you rediscover your quality of life from chronic pain and discomfort.