Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a surgical procedure used to treat neck pain and other symptoms of a slipped or herniated disc in the cervical (upper) spine.

Because the cervical spine allows for movement of the head and neck, certain conditions can occur as a result of wear and tear to the neck area or as an effect of the aging process. While many times these degenerative spine conditions can 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 as well as possible benefits. Fortunately, our team of expert surgeons at Laser Spine Institute offers a treatment for cervical spine conditions that is 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 review of your MRI, please contact our team at Laser Spine Institute today.

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

The purpose of a cervical discectomy is to relieve symptoms of a herniated disc (pain in neck and extremities, numbness and weakness in extremities) 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 (or 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 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 artificial disc is implanted into the now-empty disc space. 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 and how you can experience a safer, more effective alternative to traditional open neck fusion, please contact Laser Spine Institute today.