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Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion

With the goal of relieving pain and stabilizing the cervical spine, anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a surgical procedure that involves relieving the pressure placed on nerve roots and/or the spinal cord by a herniated disc or bone spurs in the neck.

Benefits of ACDF

Performing ACDF in a minimally-invasive method allows your physician to access the discs without disturbing the spine and spinal nerves. This also allows for improved function after surgery, less blood loss, and more complete decompression of spinal nerves. Over 90 percent of patients who undergo ACDF experience substantial relief of their arm pain symptoms, while over 75 percent experience substantial relief of neck pain. ACDF typically provides the greatest benefits to patients with pain centered in their arms.

Compared to traditional, “open” surgeries, which require long incisions, the minimally invasive approach used by North American Spine physicians results in less surgical trauma, less bone and tissue damage, and results in fewer complications and a reduced recovery period. Note: we do see patients whose previous spine surgeries are no longer providing them the relief they need.

To determine if you are a candidate for an ACDF, contact one of our Patient Care Managers at 877.474.2225. If you have already seen a physician, send us a copy of your recent MRI or CT for review using the form on this page.

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Details of the ACDF

The goal of an ACDF is to remove a herniated or degenerated disc in the neck area of the spine, then fill the resulting space with a bone graft, fusing the vertebrae together for stability.

During the procedure, your surgeon will make a short incision to one side of the front of your neck, then carefully move aside muscles, blood vessels, and any other material until spinal discs and vertebrae are exposed. Next, a device is used to hold two neighboring vertebrae in place while the damaged disc that sits between them is removed. After checking to make sure any disc fragments intruding upon your spinal cord or nearby nerves are removed, the surgeon will place the graft material in the space formerly occupied by the disc, and secure it with specialized hardware. As your body heals, it will naturally fuse bone from the neighboring vertebrae to the bone graft and create a single, longer bony structure.

While every surgery carries some risk, adverse complications are rare. Your physician will counsel you on these risks prior to the procedure.

Preparing for the ACDF

Before pursuing an ACDF, prospective patients should have tried conservative methods, such as physical therapy, chiropractic, and spinal injections. If those methods have not produced meaningful relief, you may be a candidate for a North American Spine procedure.

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ACDF Recovery

The recovery period following an ACDF is typically much shorter than the recovery period for open spine surgery. Usually, a patient will stay in the surgery center for 1-3 days after the procedure, and medical leave from work may last from 3-6 weeks, though light activities may be resumed much sooner than that.  Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication as needed, and may recommend a brace and follow-up physical therapy. The vast majority of patients report a significant and lasting reduction–or the complete eradication–of their pre-op pain. More in-depth, customized recovery guidelines will be provided by your North American Spine physician.

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Barbara D.

Condition: Herniated Disc

Procedure: ACDF

“Almost all of my symptoms have resolved and I have full use of everything.”

"My quality of life was falling fast with the inability to use both of my arms and hands due to numbness...I am still in the healing process, however life is great now. Almost all of my symptoms have resolved and I have full use of everything. I can grab something and actually hold onto it."

Connect With A Patient

Some of our former patients have been kind enough to offer to speak with back and neck pain sufferers who are looking into treatment options. We encourage you to take them up on it! After we determine a treatment plan, we’ll connect you with a past patient who had a similar condition and procedure.

Connect with a Patient

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Our friendly Patient Care Managers are standing by and ready to help. Call us at 877.474.2225 or complete the form below, and we'll be in touch shortly.