Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion (ACDF)
An Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion (ACDF) is a state-of-the-art procedure that is performed to eliminate the debilitating or painful symptoms of damaged discs in the cervical spine. The neck is a fundamental segment of the spine with the widest range of spinal motion. Used every day to execute innumerable activities, the constant movement and overuse of the neck can lead to a number of degenerative or injurious conditions. ACDF aims (with tremendous success) to correct these.
During an ACDF, your surgeon will access the cervical spine through a small incision in the anterior (or front) of the neck, avoiding damage to the posterior muscles and nerves. By securing entry from the front, the organs, tissues, and vascular structures of the neck will be gently moved to the side. Without any of the overlaying bone that is present during posterior surgeries, the surgeon will have an unobstructed view of the affected discs. Using specialized, minimally invasive instruments, the surgeon will remove a portion or the entirety of the damaged disc that is causing nerve compression and pain. If bone spurs or foraminal narrowing are occurring, these conditions will also be remedied through extraction or widening, respectively.
Following disc removal, the space between the vertebrae will be restored by implanting a prosthetic spacer that is filled with bone graft material. Bone tissue will be sourced from the supply that best suits your specific situation: from existing bone in your hip, donor bone tissue, or synthetic materials. This bone graft, along with the insertion of screws, rods, and/or plates, will stabilize the vertebrae throughout the bulk of the fusion process, which occurs after surgery is complete. While healing, the bone graft will encourage your own bones to grow in and around the graft, promoting long-term stability and lasting pain relief.
Advantages of Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion (ACDF)
An Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion is a successful option for those who are suffering from cervical disc damage and pain. This method permits easier access for the surgeon, as well as a less painful and stressful experience for the patient. Some of the benefits of ACDF include:
- Smaller incisions and less associated damage: less blood loss, less pain, and less scarring
- Anterior approach allows for a more direct view and access to damaged intervertebral discs
- Less harm to posterior muscles, nerves, and ligaments results in less pain & a faster recovery
- Shorter hospital stays with shorter recovery times enable a quick return to normal activities
- A high percentage of successful grafts and fusions are reported, with a > 90% success rate
Dr. Gatto of New Jersey’s Advanced Spine Center is especially practiced and knowledgeable in diagnosing and treating degenerative conditions of the spine. With extensive training and experience in the most up-to-date and minimally invasive procedures, Dr. Gatto has received various awards and recognition for his commitment to orthopedics and his patients. If you are looking for relief from your cervical spine pain, contact Dr. Gatto and the team at Advanced Spine today at (973) 538-0900.
Eligibility Requirements for Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion (ACDF)
Anyone suffering from the symptoms associated with cervical disc damage may be a candidate for a minimally invasive ACDF. Symptoms could include any of the following: localized pain in the neck, radiating pain through the shoulders and down the arm, headaches stemming from the base of the neck, or stiffness/immobility in the neck.
However, if you are experiencing an infection of the cervical spine, or have known allergies to any of the materials used during surgery, then you may not qualify as an ACDF candidate. It is important to work closely with your physician to assess your candidacy for ACDF and to attempt more conservative treatments before choosing surgery.
If you are wondering if an ACDF may be able to alleviate the pain and symptoms originating in your neck, contact our experienced team at the Advanced Spine Center at (973) 538-0900 to evaluate your treatment options.