Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF)
Anterior cervical discectomy procedures are usually performed to alleviate pressure on the nerves caused by disc herniations. The injured nerves can cause pain and weakness in the arms and neck. Removing the ruptured disc alleviates pressure on the nerves or spinal cord, which usually relieves the pain. A bone graft or spacer (cage) is usually inserted with instrumentation to keep the disc space at a normal height and to be able to fuse the vertebrae above and below the removed disc. Sometimes a plate is used to help stabilize the bones until the fusion heals. The surgery begins with an incision on the front of the neck and continues down to the spine. Special retractors are used to assist the surgeon. The surgery typically takes 2-3 hours and may require an overnight stay. Overall success rate is near 90%.