ACDF Surgery

Also known as: anterior cervical discectomy and fusion

What is ACDF surgery?

ACDF surgery, short for anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, is a neck surgery intended to relieve neck or arm pain from pinched nerves. It involves removing a disc from the neck that is either degenerative or herniated.

What happens during the procedure?

A patient is given anesthesia prior to ACDF surgery and is unconscious during the procedure. The surgeon makes an incision in the front of the neck and accesses the damaged disc through the throat area. Once the damaged disc is removed, a spacer bone graft is inserted into the open space to prevent the spine from collapsing. This graft is secured with metal plates and screws. Over time, the two vertebrae surrounding this graft should all fuse together to form a solid piece of bone.

Is any special preparation needed?

Patients need to stop smoking and may have to stop taking certain medications in the lead-up to the procedure. Food or drink is prohibited starting the night before the surgery.

What are the risk factors?

Nerve damage, persistent pain, hoarseness, swallowing difficulties, failure of the vertebrae to fuse or migration of the bone graft are all potential risk factors of ACDF surgery.

Reviewed by: Thomas Errico, MD

This page was last updated on: March 06, 2020 01:34 PM

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