Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery - Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF)Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery involves removing a damaged disc to relieve spinal cord or nerve root pressure and alleviate pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling associated with the damaged disc. A discectomy is considered to be a form of surgical decompression and therefore is also referred to as an anterior cervical decompression.
The surgery begins with an anterior cervical discectomy and is approached through the front of the neck. A damaged disc is removed from between two vertebral bones. Fusion surgery is carried out at the same time as the discectomy in order to stabilize the two cervical bones. Fusion involves placing bone grafts and/or artificial disc implants where the damaged disc was in order to stability and strengthen the area of the neck.
A symptomatic cervical herniated disc is the most common cause for this type of surgery. It may also be done to resolve cervical degenerative disc disease. It is also commonly carried out to remove bone spurs caused by arthritis and to alleviate the symptoms caused by cervical spinal stenosis where narrowing of the spinal cord nerve canal has occurred.
Benefits of Anterior Cervical Surgery
An ACDF is done through the front of the neck as opposed to through the back of the neck. This approach can provide several advantages:
The anterior approach allows direct visualization of the cervical discs and direct access to the discs affected by spinal cord or nerve compression. Removal of the discs directly results in nerve and spinal cord decompression. The anterior approach can provide access to almost the entire cervical spine.
Reduced Post-Operative Pain
The anterior approach provides relatively uncomplicated access to the spine with minimized dissection of surrounding tissues and structures to gain access to the spine. As a result, the patient tends to have less incisional pain after surgery.