ACDF – Anterior Cervical Discetomy and Fusion
The goal of an ACDF surgery is to remove pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves while stabilizing the affected spinal disc. This surgery has been successfully performed with excellent patient outcomes for over 30 years.
The ACDF procedure has been used for decades with a 90% success rate. There are several ways that the techniques Dr. Rodriguez uses can help maximize your outcomes:
- 90% Success Rate Relieving Pain
- The Smallest Incision Possible
- Anterior approach decreases the risk to the spinal cord
- Less Post-operative Pain, Infection and Recovery Than Posterior Approach
What Are The Indications For ACDF Surgery?
- Herniated Disc
- Cervical Degenerative Disc
- Compression of Spinal Cord
How Is An ACDF Surgery Performed?
During the ACDF surgery a 3 cm incision is made in the front of the neck. A minimally invasive approach is made to the vertebral bones at the front of the neck and spine. Next, the damaged disc is removed and any bone spurs pressing on the spinal cord or exiting nerves. A plastic cage and donor bone are placed where the disc used to be. A titanium plate and screws are placed over the vertebral bones to hold them still while the bones are fusing together to become one. This allows surgery to take the pressure off the spinal cord and the nerves and to stabilize the bones and thus relieve the pain a patient feels in their shoulders, arms and hands.
What Is The Recovery After An ACDF Surgery?
Customarily, patients are kept overnight for observation and pain control with intravenous medicine. However, one could go home the same day if they are recovered from anesthesia and their pain is well-controlled with pain pills. Patients are asked to wear a neck brace for 6 weeks allowing the fusion to take place in the neck and to reduce risks. After initial 6 weeks post–surgery, physical therapy could be beneficial and may be required. Many patients return to light duty jobs by 6 weeks and heavy lifting positions by 3-6 months.
What Are The Risks Of An ACDF Surgery?
The ACDF surgery, like any other surgical procedure, has certain potential risks and complications associated with it. Dr. Rodriguez will discuss all potential risks of surgery and answer all of your concerns prior to any decision to move forward with surgery
Risk and complications that are possible with an ACDF surgery include but not limited to:
- Risk Of Infection
- Swallowing Problems
- Nerve Damage
To minimize the risks of nerve damage, Dr. Rodriguez uses live nerve monitoring for the arms, legs and the recurrent laryngeal nerve during surgery. When a patient uses tobacco it presents a significant risk of the bone not completely healing and fusing. In this case a external bone growth stimulator is used to help minimize this risk. To minimize swallowing pain and swelling post-operatively, Dr. Rodriguez may use a “stand-alone” device instead of plate and screws.