ACDF, or Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion, is a fancy name for a bone fusion procedure in your neck. The goal of this surgery is to remove a damaged disc in your neck or cervical spine and to perform a bone fusion to replace the damaged part. ACDF has a high success rate but should be reserved for patients who really need this surgery. Spine surgeon Dr. Charla Fischer in New York City can accurately diagnose patients and determine if ACDF if right for them.
Reasons for ACDF surgery
Some common reasons for removing a cervical disc through an ACDF procedure are herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, or bone spurs. Less invasive treatment methods are almost always attempted before turning to surgery. Medications, injections, or physical therapy are some of the first treatments. If these are not successful, ACDF may be the best course of action.
ACDF surgery process
ACDF is performed under general anesthesia by a qualified specialist like Dr. Fischer. The first part of surgery involves making an incision in the front of the neck to provide access to the damaged cervical disc. It is then removed so that the second phase of surgery can be done. During the cervical fusion portion of ACDF surgery, a bone graft is used to fill in the area where the disc used to be. A metal plate holds the graft in place so that the bone will fuse to your vertebrae over time. The outcome is regaining stability of your cervical spine.
ACDF is typically performed in a hospital setting and requires observation after the procedure to ensure you are safe to recover at home. Once you have begun the healing process and you can move normally, Dr. Fischer will clear you to continue recovering at home. It is important to follow the physician’s instructions for safe activities, pain management and follow-up appointments. There will be restrictions on your daily movements such as lifting objects, driving, returning to work, attending physical therapy, and exercising. As your bone graft heals and your strength increases, Dr. Fischer will let you know when you can resume your normal life.