Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF)
Approach: Most approaches for cervical discectomy are done from the front. A minimally invasive incision is made in the front of the neck and the soft tissues in the neck are gently separated until the affected area of the spine is exposed.
Decompression: Decompression refers to the alleviation of the pressure on the spinal
cord or nerve root. This is done by moving or removing the disc or bone that is putting pressure on the spinal cord itself or nerve root.
Stabilization: Sometimes after removal of the disc or bone, additional stabilization of the vertebral joint may be necessary. This is accomplished through fusion, where a pre-formed bone graft and/or a metal cage device is used to maintain the disc space and provide stability. An anterior cervical plate is utilized for fixation. Recently, a new device – the Prestige cervical disc system – allows for the disc to be simply replaced without a fusion, thus preserving motion and flexibility.
After surgery, patients will remain in the hospital for one day. Most patients are able to return to all activities within a week. A postoperative rehabilitation program is usually prescribed to guide return to activities and normal life.