What is an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)?

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a surgical procedure used to treat the symptoms of a slipped or herniated disc in the cervical spine (neck). Because the cervical spine allows for movement of the head and neck, certain conditions can occur as a result of wear to the neck area or due to the aging process.

While these degenerative spine conditions can typically be effectively treated with nonsurgical therapies, like physical therapy and chiropractic care, sometimes a more direct treatment, like spine surgery, is required. If you have been searching endlessly for a treatment for your chronic neck pain, and you have been recommended to undergo spinal fusion, please know that we understand the dilemma you are facing. Spinal fusion is a major procedure and comes with possible risks and benefits.

Fortunately, the board-certified surgeons+ at Laser Spine Institute perform a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck fusion.^ We encourage you to explore this minimally invasive option before committing to a surgical procedure. If you have any questions about what to expect during or after the surgery, or if you would like a free MRI review,* please contact Laser Spine Institute today.

What is an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)?

The purpose of a cervical discectomy is to relieve the pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the neck and extremities associated with a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease by removing the damaged disc to release the pressure on the compressed nerve root in the spinal canal. For some mild conditions, this can include partial disc removal (sometimes called a microdiscectomy), but most spinal fusions require the entire disc to be removed from the spine.

Because discs are situated at the anterior (front) part of the spinal column, cervical discectomies are often performed through an incision in the front of the neck (throat). This small incision at the beginning of the ACDF procedure allows the surgeon to access the spine without having to disrupt the muscles and soft tissue surrounding the spine. The minimally invasive techniques used to access the spine reduce the risk of complications and failed fusion,^ as experienced sometimes in traditional open neck surgery due to the large, muscle-tearing incision used to access the spine.

Once the surgeon reaches the spine, the damaged disc in the cervical spine is removed and an implant is inserted into the now-empty disc space to stabilize the spine. This helps the spine experience a more natural recovery and mobility after surgery than a metal and screw fusion used during a traditional procedure. For more information about our ACDF procedure, reach out to our dedicated team today. We can help you determine if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.