Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, or ACDF, is a common procedure recommended for those with chronic, severe neck pain.
The individual bones of the spine are known as the vertebrae. In between each vertebrae are intervertebral discs. These discs essentially act as shock absorbers.
Neck pain can occur when compression of the vertebrae causes a disc to bulge or rupture, which can cause irritation or compression to the surrounding nerves of the spine. Degenerative disc disease, trauma, or injury can all be possible causes of bulging or herniated discs.
Symptoms of a bulging or herniated disc may include pain in your neck and/or arm, and possible weakness in the hand and/or arm.
When a bulging or herniated disc is suspected, your physician may recommend imaging (MRI, CT, myelogram) to determine the true diagnosis. Conservative treatments including medications and physical therapy may be recommended. If symptoms do not improve with these treatments, ACDF may be necessary.
ACDF is considered a minimally invasive procedure and is performed under general anesthesia. Following the procedure, you may feel slight pain and/or discomfort at the incision site. We will provide you with low impact exercises to help strengthen the surgical area. In addition, physical therapy and rehabilitation is often prescribed to help regain function and range-of-motion.